TOWN HALL MEETING TONIGHT!
An Industrial Safety Ordinance (ISO)
Why: Currently, Benicia is the only refinery town in the Bay Area not protected by an ISO. In Contra Costa County, the county Hazardous Materials Division of the Health Department is responsible for enforcing an ISO that governs the three refineries in the county unincorporated areas – Shell, Tesoro and Phillips 66. The City of Richmond has an ordinance that mirrors the county’s and contracts with Contra Costa County for enforcement activities governing the Chevron refinery and other industries.
When: TODAY! Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 7pm.
Where: The Benicia Public Library in the Doña Benicia Room at 150 East L St. in Benicia.
- Gregory Vlasek, Local Program Coordination and Emergency Response, California Environmental Protection Agency
- Clyde Trombettas, Statewide Manager and Policy Advisor for California OSHA, Process Safety Management Unit
- Randy Sawyer, Contra Costa County Chief Environmental Health and Hazardous Materials Officer
- John Gioia, Contra Costa County Supervisor
- Staff representatives from Solano County were invited to participate and declined the invitation.
- You: There will also be an opportunity for the public to ask questions and make comments at the end of the presentations.
What is the purpose of an Industrial Safety Ordinance (ISO)?
The main goal of an Industrial Safety Ordinance (ISO) is to prevent and/or minimize the effects of devastating accidents on the employees close to the accident and the surrounding communities.
Why does Benicia need this when the State has an ISO?
After the near-catastrophic May 5th Valero Refinery emergency shutdown and major flaring incident, it was even more apparent that Benicia is at risk without an ISO. Benicia is the only jurisdiction in the East Bay with a refinery or chemical industry that does not have a local safety ordinance such as the City of Richmond and other refinery communities have. The City of Benicia is covered by Cal/OSHA and Cal/EPA safety regulations. However, there are additional concerns not addressed by Cal/OSHA and Cal/EPA, such as no direct safety reports filed at the City of Benicia, leaving Benicia in the dark. An ISO would correct this and other safety matters.
How would this improve communications between Valero and the community of Benicia?
A local ISO would facilitate cooperation between industry, the City, the County, local fire departments, Cal/OSHA, Cal/EPA, other agencies that have oversight of businesses, and the public in the prevention and reduction of incidents at refineries like Valero. An ISO would also establish local air quality monitors for access to real time data.
Why is the Valero refinery the only Bay Area refinery not involved with a county or local ISO?
In 1998 Contra Costa County adopted an ISO, and revised and updated it after the Chevron fire. The City of Richmond also has a local ISO. These ISOs require among other things, refineries and other chemical businesses to submit a safety plan, undergo safety audits, and have risk management plans, each of which would allow more community input and access. The Contra Costa ISO has been praised as the best safety ordinance in the country, so effective that Cal/OSHA and Cal/EPA adopted many elements for state regulation and oversight. Benicia is the only city in Solano County that is home to refinery and currently our County has no plans to develop an ISO. It is up to the City of Benicia to develop and implement its own.
How would the ISO be managed and can Benicia afford it?
Contra Costa County’s ISO enables the county to collect fees from industrial facilities to pay for comprehensive public safety alerts and local information about environmental risks and exposure to toxins due to an “event”.
What are the next steps and how can I get involved?
Because Benicia deserves to be properly protected and informed, Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community, Progressive Democrats of Benicia, The Benicia Independent, Carquinez Patriotic Resistance, Communities For a Better Environment and additional community groups are urging the City Council to adopt and implement an Industrial Safety Ordinance for Benicia. To learn more and get involved, visit BeniciaIndependent.com. To write to Benicia city staff and council members, see below…
WHERE TO WRITE…
Mayor Elizabeth Patterson (email@example.com)
Vice Mayor Steve Young (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tom Campbell (email@example.com
Mark Hughes (Mark.Hughes@ci.benicia.ca.us)
Alan Schwartzman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
City Manager Lorie Tinfow (email@example.com)
Interim Fire Chief Josh Chadwick (JChadwick@ci.benicia.ca.us)
Police Chief Erik Upson (EUpson@ci.benicia.ca.us)
City Attorney Heather McLaughlin (Heather.McLaughlin@ci.benicia.ca.us)
MAIL / PHONE / OFFICES:
Mail to or visit City Hall: 250 East L Street, Benicia, CA 94510
Phone numbers are listed on the City’s CONTACT PAGE
SEND YOUR THOUGHTS TO THE NEWS MEDIA:
Benicia Herald, 820 First St, Benicia, CA 94510, or by email to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vallejo Times-Herald, P.O. Box 3188, Vallejo, CA 94590, Fax: 643-0128, or by email to Editor Jack Bungart at email@example.com.