KQED: In Benicia’s City Council Race, the Valero Refinery is on People’s Minds

Now, Benicia doesn’t get a ton of media attention…

Smokestacks and machinery are visible at Valero’s Benicia Refinery, in February 2022. The Bay area plant processes crude oil. (Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

KQED News, by Alan Montecillo and Maria Esquinca, Oct 19, 2022

The politics of fossil fuels in Benicia’s City Council race

Benicia is home to an oil refinery operated by Valero, which employs hundreds of people and contributes tax revenue totaling an estimated 20% of the city’s general budget.

The company has also played a very active role in local elections. Valero’s political action committee spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2018 and 2020.

Now, with this year’s city council race underway — and residents frustrated over recent controversies at the refinery — Valero’s role in Benicia looms large once again.

GuestScott Morris, reporter for the Vallejo Sun