Listen: Why were toxic releases kept secret at a Bay Area refinery?

Valero in Benicia released chemicals at levels way above the legal limit for years — and regulators knew

San Francisco Chronicle Fifth & Mission Podcast, March 25, 2022 – 12-minute interview with SFChron reporter Julie Johnson.

Residents of communities like Richmond, Martinez and Benicia are angry after finding out that a hydrogen stack at the Valero refinery in Benicia was releasing chemicals at levels hundreds of times higher than the legal limit for years.

Government regulators knew — but had kept it a secret since 2019.

Many residents of communities like Richmond, Martinez and Benicia have long distrusted the region’s oil refineries. They may appreciate the jobs, and they may use the gas, but they feel like basic steps haven’t been taken to filter and monitor chemicals that pollute their air.

On this episode of the Fifth & Mission podcast, Chronicle reporter Julie Johnson joins host Demian Bulwa to break down the story and talk about whether these revelations validate those fears.

Photo above: The Valero refinery in Benicia in 2019.