Category Archives: Industrial Safety Ordinance (ISO)

Benicia ISO in a nutshell

Benicia needs an Industrial Safety Ordinance – 3 important points to be made

By Roger Straw

1.  We don’t know what is in the air, and we have asthma rates three times the state average. We need air monitors NOW, and state/regional regulations will be slow in coming.

2. ISO is budget neutral for the City.

3.  We need the experts that an ISO will provide, participating as equals at the table reviewing documents and regulations on our behalf.

Check out our ISO page for way more information.  And show up at City Council on June 19th!  And please write to the news media, social media, and/or City Council members – contacts listed here.

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Benicia City Council to discuss Industrial Safety Ordinance on June 19

A Year Later, ISO is on Council’s agenda

By Roger Straw, May 13, 2018

Almost exactly a year ago (on 05/23/17), Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson succeeded in requesting that Council direct staff to agendize future Council discussion of drafting and adopting a community Industrial Safety Ordinance.  The Council voted 4-1 to approve and calendar further discussion.

This was the first step in Benicia’s cumbersome 2-step process for a Councilmember or Mayor to agendize a new topic.

Well, it has taken a year, but the good news is that this item will finally come up on the June 19, 2018 Council agendaMark your calendar and plan to attend!
AND/OR… write! 
 (click here for info on where to write)

Here are the relevant documents from May of 2017:

For much more, see Benicia Independent’s ISO Page (letters from concerned Benicians, original documents, video and much more).

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Andrés Soto Letter: Benicians Deserve Better

Repost from the Benicia Herald, Forum Page

Benicia deserves better

Andrés Soto

February 21, 2018, By Andrés Soto

Benicia is the only Bay Area refinery town that does not have the community protection of an Industrial Safety Ordinance, or ISO.

In 1999, the city of Richmond and Contra Costa County adopted their interlocking ISOs. The Richmond ordinance mirrors the Contra Costa ISO, and Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Division is responsible for enforcement and reporting.

Their experience with repeated refinery and associated hydrogen plant polluting events caused the elected leaders to respond to pressure from the disproportionally impacted communities in Richmond, Rodeo and Martinez for greater protection and information about polluting incidents.

How did Benicia miss out?

Since the adoption of the ISO, there have continued to be dangerous and deadly incidents at these Bay Area refineries, albeit at reduced rates, due to the ISO. Fortunately, the Richmond/Contra Costa ISO allows for corrective provisions that have improved refinery function and provided impacted communities with timely investigative information.

Under the ISOs, a 72-hour post incident report is available to the public. Monthly reports, or more frequently if necessary, follow that report and are publicly posted. To date, neither the Benicia City Council nor the people of Benicia have received any official reports on the nearly monthlong Valero flaring disaster this past May.

Based on the success of the Richmond/Contra Costa ISO, the California legislature adopted some of the process safety management portions of the ISO and made them state law, going into effect in October.

Unfortunately, the legislature did not adopt all elements of the ISOs. Benicia’s ability to receive information, publish the results of investigations to the public and to require Valero to take corrective action simply does not exist. Can we wait for the legislature to strengthen the state law?

While Valero and PG&E point the finger at each other over who is at fault for the Valero flaring disaster in May, Benicia remains in the dark. We know Valero was given permits to construct an adequate backup generator system but only one co-generator was built and the permit for the other was allowed to expire after several extensions, probably because of Valero’s bureaucrats in Texas.

Do we Benicians think we can count on Texas oil men to put our health and safety ahead of their profits? The lesson we learned from the successful battle to stop Valero’s dangerous Crude-By-Rail Project is the company seems to stop at nothing to ensure their profits – even at the expense of Benicians.

Benicia deserves better!

Andrés Soto,
Benicia

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