A Letter to the Editor by Vicki Dennis, December 11, 2023
Other writers before me have outlined the reasons why Benicia needs and deserves an Industrial Safety and Health Ordinance in place. I agree completely. For me, it is very simple and personal: I want to know that the air I am breathing in my own community is clean, safe and healthy, that the vegetables I pull from my garden are safe from toxic particles floating from the air, that I can open my windows and not worry about damaging my lungs.
Other Bay Area refinery cities have moved the needle in working with their local industry. They have in place a stronger Industrial Safety Ordinance that helps assure them that they are getting up-to-date information about emissions and air quality. In Benicia, we deserve the same respect from our refinery leaders.
I urge our City Council to vote yes to move to the second stage of putting in place a stronger and more effective way to provide us with greater transparency, better communication between Valero and the city, and assurances that Benicians know what we are breathing and that our air is indeed healthy. An Industrial Safety and Health Ordinance will go a long way toward accomplishing those goals.
There is a group of concerned citizens of Benicia who support the adoption of a Benicia Industrial Safety and Health Ordinance (BISHO). To learn more about the effort and add your support, visit www.bisho.org.
If you support Benicia City Council voting in favor of taking the “second step” on the long road toward adopting an ISO in Benicia, consider sending a letter to them as outlined in Stephen Golub’s instructions from his post earlier today (the text that follows comes from that post). You can also support this effort by signing on to this community letter.
By Stephen Golub, from his December 9, 2023 column, first published in the Benicia Herald
If you want to find out more about the need and potential for an ISO, or wish to indicate support for this initiative, please check out the website recently put together to promote it: www.bisho.org
As the site says, employing a suggested name for the proposed ISO:
“We are concerned citizens of Benicia who support the adoption of a Benicia Industrial Safety and Health Ordinance (BISHO) that would help prevent accidents, allow us to receive more complete and timelier information, hold local industries accountable, and give our City a ‘seat at the table,’ as all other Bay Area Communities with refineries have done.”
You can also attend the December 19 City Council meeting, which will start at 6 pm in the Council chambers at City Hall. Or you can Zoom into the session, via a link you’ll find at the Agendas and Minutes page of the City’s website shortly before the session takes place, https://www.ci.benicia.ca.us/agendas
Or you can email the Council members, ccing the City Clerk, stating that you support an ISO for Benicia. It’s best if you send your comments by the Dec. 12 deadline for emails to be included in the public record attached to the Dec. 19 meeting. But an email at any time will be read and considered.
Their emails are:
- Mayor Steve Young: SYoung@ci.benicia.ca.us
- Vice Mayor Terry Scott: TScott@ci.benicia.ca.us
- Council Member Tom Campbell: TCampbell@ci.benicia.ca.us
- Council Member Trevor Macenski: TMacenski@ci.benicia.ca.us
- Council Member Kari Birdseye: KBirdseye@ci.benicia.ca.us
- City Clerk Lisa Wolfe: email@example.com
The Dec. 19 meeting is the first but crucial step in helping to make our community safer, and more secure for our kids, our older adults, our businesses, our employees and all of us. I hope that you’ll consider attending or emailing our representatives about the proposed ISO.