All posts by BenIndy

Flaring reported at Martinez refinery day after class action lawsuit proposed

The Martinez Refining Co. is the focus of a joint civil action over its release of heavy-metal laden dust. | Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle.

ABC7, by J. R. Stone, November 29, 2023

MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) — Flaring in the form of at least two massive flames could be seen at the Martinez Refining Company for much of Wednesday evening.

This comes just a day after a “proposed class action lawsuit” was filed against the company for past chemical releases during flaring incidents.

Those from the Martinez refinery said there was an operational incident that happened around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The refinery has issued at least two statements saying that the appropriate agencies were notified, and a community notification was given. Those from the refinery say, “We have been maintaining clean combustion during the flaring, and ground-level air monitoring has shown normal measurements.”

We talked with Mitzi Crawford, who lives about a mile away and saw the flaring.

“Number one, there’s a sound kind of a roaring, sound kind of made my tension like oh – something’s happening – so I just turned to look over towards the refinery and there’s quite a large fire that’s coming out of there. Concerning for the whole neighborhood, if people start to wonder and don’t know why you have asthma and all these other things, chronic conditions such as that they don’t investigate it, it’s concerning to see some of this,” said Crawford.

This flaring comes just a day after a proposed class action lawsuit was filed against the Martinez refinery alleging the location has created a “public nuisance.” Citing Thanksgiving of 2022 when 2,024 tons of “spent catalyst” was released into the community leaving metallic dust on things.

The Contra Costa Health Department is investigating after a flare-up at the Martinez Refinery sent white ash raining down on nearby neighborhoods. | Still from ABC7 footage.

“Is there a belief that it effects anyone’s health?” we asked attorney Blair Kittle.

“I think there is definitely a concern, that is part of what we’re asking for in our suit, to make sure there is medical monitoring. A regime that people can go and find that out for sure at scale paid for by the refinery, so there is definitely a concern,” said Kittle.

Mitzi also sent us this cell phone video showing what appears to be particles in the air. She is concerned about what may have been released. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District says their inspectors are investigating the flaring.

In their statement, the Martinez refinery went on to say that “flares are an essential part of a refinery’s integrated, engineered safety systems, designed to safely manage excess gases through efficient, effective combustion.”

Here is the statement issued by the Martinez Refinery:

“At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 29, an operational incident occurred at the Martinez Refinery that led to flaring that was visible offsite. In following our procedures, appropriate agencies were notified, and we promptly issued a Community Warning System Level 1 notification.

We have been maintaining clean combustion during the flaring, and ground-level air monitoring has shown normal measurements. You are welcome to view real-time measurements at our fenceline air monitoring website: http://www.fenceline.org/martinez/. Looking forward, we expect intermittent flaring to continue while our employees address these issues.

Flares are an essential part of a refinery’s integrated, engineered safety systems, designed to safely manage excess gases through efficient, effective combustion. You can learn more about flaring on our website: https://martinezrefiningcompany.com/about-flaring/.

We apologize for any inconvenience to our neighbors and thank our employees for their professional response. As always, we have a community inquiry phone number you can call 925-313-3777 or 925-313-3601 during off work hours. Thank you.”

CORRECTION – Here’s how to attend California Forever’s Benicia Town Hall DEC. 14, 5-7pm

[Note from BenIndy: Apologies for the first post of this event, which had the wrong month in the header as well as the headline. DECEMBER 14 is the date of the town hall meeting. It’s unclear, but entry to California Forever’s December 14th town hall meeting may require a mobile ticket secured through EventBrite; you can sign up through EventBrite by clicking this link. You can also email California Forever questions in advance of the meeting. Please plan to attend this incredibly important town hall meeting. It’s essential that Benicians pack the room to demand that the many outstanding questions (and complaints) that have already accrued around this perceived incursion of tech elites apparently seeking to build a libertarian utopia in Solano County are finally answered – to our complete satisfaction. We are owed this much.]

Message from California Forever:

Join us Dec. 14 at 5 pm in Benicia for a town hall meeting as we share big picture ideas and respond to community questions and feedback.

Date and time

Thursday, December 14 · 5 – 7pm PST

Location

Charles P. Stone Hall and Spenger Memorial Garden at Benicia Historical Museum, 2060 Camel Road Benicia, CA 94510

About this event

California Forever: Benicia Town Hall

California Forever was created to bring back the California Dream. We want to do that by building a new community, solar farms, and a greenbelt of agriculture and habitat in eastern Solano County. Doing so would bring thousands of good paying jobs, new paths to middle-class home ownership in safe, walkable neighborhoods, new sources of clean energy, and stronger county tax base to fund essential services for every resident of Solano County.

Since announcing California Forever, we have remained focused on listening to and learning from people representing all walks of life in Solano County.

Our first town halls will share our vision for the project and solicit community feedback to help shape our ideas. Then after we have released our plans for the new community in early January 2024, CA Forever will convene another series of town halls where we will explain and answer questions about our proposal.

We hope to meet you in person at these events soon.

Questions must be submitted in advance to contact@californiaforever.com with the subject line “Benicia Town Hall Question”

Here’s how to attend California Forever’s Benicia Town Hall Dec. 14, 5-7pm

[Note from BenIndy: It’s unclear, but entry to California Forever’s November 14th town hall meeting may require a mobile ticket secured through EventBrite; you can sign up through EventBrite by clicking this link. You can also email California Forever questions in advance of the meeting. Please plan to attend this incredibly important town hall meeting. It’s essential that Benicians pack the room to demand that the many outstanding questions (and complaints) that have already accrued around this perceived incursion of tech elites apparently seeking to build a libertarian utopia in Solano County are finally answered – to our complete satisfaction. We are owed this much.]

Message from California Forever:

Join us Dec. 14 at 5 pm in Benicia for a town hall meeting as we share big picture ideas and respond to community questions and feedback.

Date and time

Thursday, December 14 · 5 – 7pm PST

Location

Charles P. Stone Hall and Spenger Memorial Garden at Benicia Historical Museum, 2060 Camel Road Benicia, CA 94510

About this event

California Forever: Benicia Town Hall

California Forever was created to bring back the California Dream. We want to do that by building a new community, solar farms, and a greenbelt of agriculture and habitat in eastern Solano County. Doing so would bring thousands of good paying jobs, new paths to middle-class home ownership in safe, walkable neighborhoods, new sources of clean energy, and stronger county tax base to fund essential services for every resident of Solano County.

Since announcing California Forever, we have remained focused on listening to and learning from people representing all walks of life in Solano County.

Our first town halls will share our vision for the project and solicit community feedback to help shape our ideas. Then after we have released our plans for the new community in early January 2024, CA Forever will convene another series of town halls where we will explain and answer questions about our proposal.

We hope to meet you in person at these events soon.

Questions must be submitted in advance to contact@californiaforever.com with the subject line “Benicia Town Hall Question”

Nov. 27 Chevron Richmond refinery power loss triggered flaring incident, black smoke clouds

Chevron Richmond flaring. | KPIX.

CBS Bay Area, by Dave Pehling, November 27, 2023

RICHMOND — Flaring activity at the Chevron Richmond refinery Monday afternoon due to a loss of power at part of the facility has sent a large cloud of black smoke over the region.

A Facebook post by the Chevron Richmond account shortly after 4 p.m. confirmed that the workers at the facility were attempting to “quickly to minimize and stop the flaring.” The post said a “Community Warning System (CWS) Level 1” was issued due to smoke and the visible flaring. This type of warning does not require action by the public, the post said.

A representative from Contra Costa Health (CCH) confirmed that Chevron Richmond notified them about the flaring due to “an unplanned unit shutdown” at about 3:30 p.m. CCH said it was sending a hazardous materials team to the refinery to investigate, but no shelter-in-place order has been issued in connection with the incident.

KPIX chief meteorologist Paul Heggen said the smoke plume is blowing to the west. According to the EPA and Purple Air monitors, there has not been a dramatic decline of ground-level air quality.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has not issued an alert regarding the incident and was currently showing the air quality to be moderate in the area around the refinery. District officials confirmed that their inspectors were investigating at the refinery and that they were “documenting any violations of air quality regulations and assisting first responders.”

The district initially said four complaints were received as of around 4:30 p.m. As of an hour later, 51 complaints had been submitted.

Richmond Fire officials are also at the scene and monitoring air quality.