A Message from the Benicia ISO Working Group:
The crucial City Council meeting on whether Benicia should consider an Industrial Safety Ordinance will take place on TODAY, Tuesday, Dec. 19 at 6 pm at the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 230 East L Street. It is vital that supporters of a strong ISO attend and voice our support. Valero is gearing up to oppose this and may bring personnel to the meeting to voice opposition.
By attending and offering comments, you can offer support for the proposal by Vice Mayor Terry Scott and Councilmember Kari Birdseye, to be voted on by the Council on Dec. 19, instructing City staff to look into the possibility of Benicia adopting an ISO.
In addition, please voice support for not just the Scott-Birdseye proposal but for a strong ISO. This has become all-the-more important because of a problematic Benicia City staff report that, perhaps unintentionally, repeatedly presents incomplete and potentially misleading information that paints Valero’s refinery in a favorable light compared to Contra Costa County refineries covered by ISOs. The report neglects to mention evidence and experience to the contrary.
For instance, the report lists accidents that have occurred only at Contra Costa refineries. Yet it makes no mention of the many instances of severe violations by Valero, including the 2022 revelation about its Benicia refinery’s over fifteen years of unreported toxic emissions, hundreds of times regulatory limits.
In fairness, however, the report briefly notes, “In the years following [the Contra Costa County ISO’s implementation], it is believed to have contributed to a decline in accidents and releases at refineries in Contra Costa.”
The point is that voices for a strong ISO can help counteract any misimpressions that staff report might leave to the contrary.
If at all possible, your showing up early can help ensure that supporters of a strong ISO are near the front of the audience. But even if you can’t make it by 6 pm, that will be ok as the discussion of this matter probably won’t start until close to 6:30 pm (or possibly even later if the Council does not move this priority item to early in the agenda).
Also, participation by Zoom is an option. You can find the link that explains how to access the meeting here: https://granicus_production_attachments.s3.amazonaws.com/benicia/5f807fdd4c4cce692977198f6f31acd30.pdf.
Thanks very much for considering all this and for any support you can show for making Benicia safer and healthier for our kids, our older adults and all of us.
See www.bisho.org for more information.