Tag Archives: Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD)

Benicia Herald: ‘Refineries failing at fenceline monitoring’

[Editor: The Benicia Herald  does not have an online edition – their lead story in today’s print edition is presented here as a photographic image (click to enlarge). To support our local newspaper, please subscribe by email at beniciacirculation@gmail.com or by phone at 707-745-6838.]

After this quick read, PLEASE SEND YOUR COMMENTS on Valero’s Air Monitoring Plans and Quality Assurance Project Plans to the Bay Area Air District.  They are accepting comments on the refineries’ plans through Thursday, April 20 at 5 p.m. Details on the BenIndy here. Comments should be sent to jlapka@baaqmd.gov.

Read more! As Air Quality is so essential to our health, you might want to check out these resources:

BCAMP ACTION ALERT: Tell Our Air District That Valero Is Failing

This is a news release from Benicia Community Air Monitoring Program (BCAMP), issued April 12, 2023. Please take a few minutes to follow the instructions below to submit an emailed comment in support of this important request. 

We need the public to push the Air District to enforce its fenceline regulations. Valero is failing.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is requesting public input by Thursday, April 20 on the Air Monitoring Plans (AMPs) and Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) from the five Bay Area refineries. The public input relates to the measurement of the dangerous gas-hydrogen sulfide (H2S) by the refineries’ open path fenceline monitoring systems.

The bottom line is this: since the law went into effect in January, four out of the five Bay Area refineries are not meeting BAAQMD’s requirements for detecting and reporting the level of hydrogen sulfide at the refinery fencelines. One of the refineries, Martinez Refining Company, is meeting the requirements, so we know that the technology to provide the important data to the public is readily available.

We need to make sure that all five Bay Area Refineries, including Valero, are held accountable!

This is not just about the refineries following rules set by the Air District, it’s about public health. We need to know what is in the air we breathe! Your comments to the district make a tremendous difference. The Air Board  does pay attention to the comments and the public sentiment.  So please take a couple of minutes to send this email or one like it.

How to comment

IMPORTANT: the deadline for comments is Thursday, April 20 at 5pm. Don’t delay! Please act now. 

Please send your comment to Joe Lapka at  jlapka@baaqmd.gov.

Please put in the subject line: “Comment on Revised Draft Refinery Fenceline Air Monitoring Plans for Valero, Phillips 66, Tesoro and Chevron.”

You can simply copy and paste the following as your comment, or write your own:

The revised refinery air monitoring plans show that four out of five refineries are not meeting BAAQMD’s requirements. It is apparent that only the open path system being utilized at the Martinez Refining Company meets the requirements listed in the Air District’s 12/22/2022 letter, as defined by the requirements in their Quality Assurance Project  Plan (QAPP). The systems being used at the other four refineries does not meet these requirements. All refineries should utilize equipment that meets the Air District requirements as stated in the 12/22/2022 letters.  All requirements across all Bay Area refineries should be as uniform as possible in operation and data display to allow communities to compare measurements and performance across refineries.  This isn’t just about following the rules, it’s about public health and safety!  We deserve to know what we are breathing.

In addition, we request that all technologies used at all Bay Area refineries have similar operational and data display parameters developed and required soon. We truly feel this will help re-establish community trust in the data generated by the technologies in use as part of Rule 12-15.

It is vital that the refineries be held accountable—not just by paying fines—but by installing the equipment that will meet the Air District’s requirements without delay.

There should also be a public meeting about this important topic.

Thank you for taking a stand with us!

Read more! As Air Quality is so essential to our health, you might want to check out these resources:

Air District News Release: Air District settles case with Valero Refining Co.

Refinery to pay $345,000 for air quality violations unrelated to recent Hearing Board case

(click image for full document)

Air District fines Valero $345K for 2017 violations

Air District Reaches $345K Settlement With Benicia Valero Refinery Over 2017 Violations

KPIX CBS SF Bay Area, March 24, 2022

BENICIA (CBS SF) – The Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced Thursday that they have reached a $345,000 settlement with Valero over violations at its Benicia refinery in 2017.

According to an agency statement, the settlement addresses 17 notices of violations at the facility. Violations include excessive visible emissions, exceeding limits on carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, along with violations on late reporting.

“The hundreds of emissions points at each refinery require regular inspections, monitoring and data review by the Air District,” said Damian Breen, the agency’s senior deputy executive officer of operations/enforcement. “Penalties resulting from that oversight ensure that facilities fix and avoid future air quality violations. This helps to protect public health.”

Agency officials said the violations leading up to the settlement have been corrected.

Thursday’s settlement is unrelated to an abatement order issued against the refinery last week over unreported emissions that the air district was not aware of for years. The air district said that penalties regarding the abatement order have yet to be determined.