Tag Archives: Valero Benicia Refinery

Refinery Air Watch Training Feb 2, 7 PM – get detailed data on Valero Benicia and other refineries

[Editor: Previously published – this is a tickler about the important upcoming webinar training this week. – R.S.]

Webinar: Introducing Refinery Air Watch: Radical Access to Fenceline Monitoring Data

Thursday, February 2, 7pm PST (zoom link)
Presented by the Fair Tech Collective

Air monitoring is happening at oil refinery fencelines. How can you get your hands on the data?

www.refineryairwatch.org

This one-hour webinar offers an introduction to Refinery Air Watch, (www.refineryairwatch.org), a new website that enables you to download results from fenceline air monitoring–and understand how refineries are making it hard for you to learn what’s in the air.

By the end of the session, you will be able to download data from the site and figure out what the data say about air quality at the fenceline. You will also understand where Refinery Air Watch’s data come from, what its strengths and limitations are, and what regulatory reforms are necessary to secure your right to know what you’re breathing.

Thursday, February 2, 7pm PST
Zoom link:  : Join our Cloud HD Video Meeting

Fair Tech Collective, founded by Gwen Ottinger, believes that science and technology can empower communities—but...
Fair Tech Collective, founded by Gwen Ottinger, believes that science and technology can empower communities—but…

 

 

Refinery Air Watch – Webinar intro to new website showing detailed data on Valero Benicia and refineries across U.S.

Webinar: Introducing Refinery Air Watch: Radical Access to Fenceline Monitoring Data

Thursday, February 2, 7pm PST (zoom link)
Presented by the Fair Tech Collective

Air monitoring is happening at oil refinery fencelines. How can you get your hands on the data?

www.refineryairwatch.org

This one-hour webinar offers an introduction to Refinery Air Watch, (www.refineryairwatch.org), a new website that enables you to download results from fenceline air monitoring–and understand how refineries are making it hard for you to learn what’s in the air.

By the end of the session, you will be able to download data from the site and figure out what the data say about air quality at the fenceline. You will also understand where Refinery Air Watch’s data come from, what its strengths and limitations are, and what regulatory reforms are necessary to secure your right to know what you’re breathing.

Thursday, February 2, 7pm PST
Zoom link:  : Join our Cloud HD Video Meeting

Fair Tech Collective, founded by Gwen Ottinger, believes that science and technology can empower communities—but...
Fair Tech Collective, founded by Gwen Ottinger, believes that science and technology can empower communities—but…

 

 

Refinery Air Watch – new website shows missing info on Valero Benicia and across U.S.

New Website Highlights Gaps in Communities’ Access to Air Quality Data 

https://www.refineryairwatch.org/

By email, November 16, 2022

“Refineries are being forced to measure toxic chemicals they release. But they still don’t want the people next door to know what they’re breathing,” said Dr. Gwen Ottinger, Associate Professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia. “That’s where Refinery Air Watch comes in.”

Launched this week, RefineryAirWatch.org is a project of Ottinger’s lab, the Fair Tech Collective, graphic design firm SAYGRID, and a coalition of residents from refinery-adjacent communities in the San Francisco Bay area.

>> The site lets users download air quality data that industry and government-run websites make hard to access. It calls out refineries that take measurements but don’t make them available for download by the public. And it exposes widespread failures by the oil industry to support communities’ right to know. Out of 116 refineries in the United States, only 12 measure chemical concentrations continuously or collect data about more than one pollutant.

“In our community,” Benicia, California resident Constance Beutel said, “We went 15 years with undisclosed toxic emissions from the Valero refinery. There was no monitoring in the community so we didn’t know how dangerous our air had become.”

Click image for Benicia details at RefineryAirWatch.org.

Beutel’s group, the Good Neighbor Steering Committee, eventually established the Benicia Community Air Monitoring Program, which measures hazardous pollutants at 5-minute intervals and has publicly available data. Getting the program going was incredibly significant for the community, Beutel said: “Without actual real-time data, we in the public are unaware of the health risks and dangers we live with daily. Having RefineryAirWatch.org as a resource for us and other communities is a huge step forward for the public.”

Refinery Air Watch makes data available for download. It also uses standardized measurements of benzene, required by the Environmental Protection Agency to be taken at refineries across the U.S., to show which refineries have the largest impact on neighbors, which states have the worst polluters, and which corporations are responsible. The site’s designer, Andee Mazzocco of SAYGRID, notes “we collected data from a federally mandated data dump and transformed it into meaningful information citizens can easily access and rely on.”

“This is an environmental justice issue,” said Ottinger. “Six million people live within three miles of an oil refinery, and they’re more likely than other Americans to be people of color, low income, or both. We know that toxic emissions from refineries are one more manifestation of structural racism. But we can’t understand the full extent of the problem if we’re not insisting that refineries measure their pollution and make the data readily available for communities, scientists, and investigative journalists to analyze. Refinery Air Watch sends the message that regulatory agencies need to drastically improve their requirements for air monitoring and data access.”

Contact: 

Clean Politics and Valero – video from 2019 and 2022

Valero spokesperson refused to promise fair campaigns, Air District exposes Valero’s multi-year toxic emissions

At 2019 public presentation by Valero in Benicia, Paul Adler, Valero Benicia’s Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations, declined to respond to a question regarding the refinery’s interfering in local Benicia elections.

Benicia resident Andrés Soto was in the audience, and posed a question during Q&A. Recalling Valero’s malicious attacks in Benicia’s 2018 election, Mr. Soto posed a question: “You say you want to be a ‘good neighbor.’ Will you pledge not to conduct a similar negative campaign in the local elections in 2020, and let Benicians make their own decisions?” Mr. Adler’s refused to make the pledge.

The Valero funded PAC went on to mount a massive effort to buy the Mayor’s seat in 2020 – including misleading and demeaning ads, and has once again in 2022 spent large sums on phone polling, mailers and social media.

This video shifts midway to a March, 2022 Benicia City Council presentation by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. At that meeting, air quality experts informed the city leaders and residents of serious huge multi-year toxic emissions violations heretofore unreported by the Valero Refinery.

See also, “City Leaders in Benicia not happy to learn recently that the Valero was emitting excessive amounts of hazardous chemicals for over a decade.