Category Archives: Bay Area Air Quality Management District

Questionable community outreach by Air District for Industrial Safety Ordinance audits

From local emails…


From: Roger Straw
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2018 9:45 AM
Subject: FW: [BAAQMD Coalition] Questionable community outreach for Industrial Safety Ordinance audits

This is amazing – read below, from bottom, up.  (Click on the image for larger display.)  And then come back and ask a couple of questions:

  1. Does Solano County have to report to the public like this now – even under current regulations?  Do they publish a notice like the one Nancy sent from Crockett?  Is this something that our newbie “CUPA” needs to be doing on our behalf?
  2. If/when we have an ISO, what assurances do we have the Hazardous Materials staff (Contra Costa OR Solano) would be any more attentive to Benicia citizens’ needs.  (Randy Sawyer should be embarrassed by this.)

I think the Working Group could be making a big deal out of this!  I think I’ll post about it on the BenIndy.


Begin forwarded message:

On Tue, Jul 3, 2018, 3:28 PM Nancy Rieser via BAAQMD Network wrote:

The Contra Costa Health Department considers a booth behind an elementary school two blocks away from a street fair in Crockett as a “public meeting..”   They reckon that the booth where they will be twiddling their fingers while the locals drink and dance a few blocks away will meet its obligation to hold a face-to-face public meeting.

Guess we are lucky.  Martinez gets its face-to-face at a Christmas tree farm in August on National Night Out.

I called the Health Department:  The gentleman who answered the phone said that apparently nobody cares enough to hear this kind of information and they won’t hold a meeting unless they can get a guaranteed audience of 25 people.  Neither will they mail notices to individual homes about their meeting to hustle the crowds.  “It is too expensive.”


From: Ralph Dennis
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 12:26 PM
Subject: ISO related

I noticed in the Benicia Herald this morning two public notices for Risk Management Plans prepared by Solano County Department of Resource Management, one for Praxair and the other for Benicia’s Water Treatment Plant. These are part of the 5-year audit review process, I believe, the same reports referenced in the Contra Costa County notice you sent around the other day.

I figured there ought to be one for Valero, so I called the Solano County Department of Resource Management. Turns out the Valero plan was filed in Dec. 2017 and is still under review. The staffer I spoke with who is doing the review is suppose to call me about status. Interesting, I guess: no public meetings planned, copies of plans not available in our library (as in Contra Costa County). He seemed surprised at my question about public meetings, said he could check with management.

CCHMP public notice meetings July-Aug 2018

    ISO Working Group personal reflection: City Council says no to industrial safety…for now

    By Roger Straw

    Council turns down draft local ISO, puts trust in Valero, County, State and Air District

    Roger Straw, The Benicia Independent

    It’s a sad story.  An ambitious and dedicated group of us formed a Benicia ISO Working Group over 7 months ago.  We met, researched, wrote, met with officials and embraced the pro-bono attorney labors of Terry Mollica, who drafted a head-start on Benicia’s own Industrial Safety Ordinance.

    The City Council didn’t buy it.  Mostly, they bought the joint opinion of Valero, Solano County and the Bay Area Air District – that a LOCAL ordinance is redundant given new regional and state regulations.  Which of course, it isn’t – redundant, that is.

    Mayor Patterson and Vice-mayor Steve Young voted to direct staff to further review the concept and the draft ordinance and return to Council with recommendations.  Mark Hughes (predictably), along with Alan Schwartzman and Tom Campbell, voted to wait awhile.

    Significantly, for the first time on the public record, all five agreed that the City of Benicia and its residents are long overdue for air monitors.

    Campbell and Schwartzman threatened Valero that they would revisit the issue and vote in favor of an ISO in November 2018 if Valero has not complied with a new Air District requirement for a few “fenceline” air monitors on Valero’s southeast border.

    Of course, we would get fenceline AND COMMUNITY-BASED, neighborhood air monitors with the draft ISO.  But three Councilmembers chose to take a slower route with much less leverage over our local Goliath.

    It could go either way in November or December.  Valero could conceivably install the required but totally inadequate fenceline monitors.  Or they could seek a delay, or just never perform.  It really doesn’t matter.  Many are saying we should sit tight, and hold Councilmembers Schwartzman and Campbell to their promise if Valero doesn’t comply – that they would then vote for an ISO.  Fine, but a better plan is to simply remember that Councilmember Hughes is up for re-election in November.  Whether or not Valero complies, a third vote on Council would be assured with Hughes’ defeat in November.

    This isn’t over.  Benicia continues as the only refinery town in the Bay Area without a local industrial safety ordinance.  Our City staff and our citizens need a measure of oversight and control when it comes to our public health and safety.

      Marilyn Bardet on AB617, California’s Community Air Protection Program

      February 19, 2018

      Benicia air monitoring advocate Marilyn Bardet spoke powerfully at a recent workshop held by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the California Air Resources Board.  Her comments nicely summarize the longstanding neglect of air monitoring in Benicia and the need for state and regional agencies to include Benicia in upcoming community outreach regarding AB617, the Community Air Protection Program.

      Here is the 2-minute video clip of Marilyn and the encouraging  1-minute response from the BAAQMD’s Greg Nudd.  Below is more info and the video of the full workshop.

      Highly recommended: highly informative video of the entire 2:39 minute workshop:

      Full length video of the January 31, 2018 workshop, 2 hours 39 minutes.  (Note that audio doesn’t start until minute 13:20, and the meeting begins at 15:55.  You can move the slider forward to skip the first part.)

      MORE about AB617, the Community Air Protection Program: