Category Archives: California Assembly

Five years after power went out at Benicia’s refinery, CA lawmakers considering higher penalties

CA Assembly bill would increase penalties for air quality violations by refineries

KQED  Morning Edition – Ted Goldberg Reports, April 18, 2022

[Later: the bill was “Re-referred to Com. on NAT. RES.”]

Bill Analysis, by the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources:

THIS BILL increases the maximum civil penalty applicable to a refinery for discharging air pollutants in violation of Section 41700, without regard to intent or injury, from $10,000 per day to $30,000 for the initial date of the violation, or $100,000 for the initial date of a second violation within 12 months, subject to conditions… [MORE]

The Bill’s text, history, status: AB-1897, Nonvehicular air pollution control: refineries: penalties

Grayson is on the fence on AB 1440 – Critical vote could happen today

A critical vote could take place today or early Tuesday.  It would be great if you could make a constituent phone call today.

AB 1440 is proposed legislation that reforms the agency that regulates the oil and gas industry in CA – called the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR.)

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and associated parties are fighting hard against this bill, which is sorely needed.

The language regulating DOGGR still puts oil and gas interests above human health and community safety.  AB 1440 would change that.

Please call Tim Grayson, as we know WSPA is in his ear today.

Tim Grayson, 14th California Assembly District

Capitol Office
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0014
Tel: (916) 319-2014
Fax: (916) 319-2114

District Office:
420 Virginia Street, Suite 1C
Vallejo, CA 94590
Tel: (707) 642-0314


ENDORSEMENT: Mae Torlakson for California Assembly

By Roger Straw, May 21, 2016

Whose “hit pieces” to believe?  Support Mae Torlakson for State Assembly

I have about 10 huge full color mailers that arrived in my mailbox from Mae Torlakson’s opponent, and half of them are nasty hit pieces. Unfortunately, I have about the same from Torlakson’s campaign. Who to believe?

I met Mae here in Benicia early in her campaign, and I stand behind her. She is endorsed by nurses, teachers, the California League of Conservation Voters, most of our current elected officials and the Democratic Party.  The issues page on her website does not mention crude by rail, but she has a strong position on environmental issues, beginning with the following:

Environmental protection is a global issue. We need to collaborate with other states and other nations to tackle this pressing need. We need to take decisive action to combat global warming and other forms of environmental degradation. We want a world where our children and our grandchildren can be outdoors and breath fresh air and enjoy the beauty of our majestic mountains, our fertile valleys, and our astoundingly scenic and rugged coastlines.

California has been a leader in environmental protection through progressive policy, regulations and laws. We must do all what we can to reduce our carbon footprint and protect our environment.

In the Assembly, I will work to invest in alternative energy and transportation to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Torlakson’s opponent Tim Grayson is a minister of a very conservative church and former Mayor of Concord with a questionable ethical record there.  His website issues page mentions global warming and assures us he thinks it’s real (he thinks this is an issue?), but he was a Republican when he stood with climate change deniers and big oil when they tried to repeal California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act.

Assembly District 14 includes the southern portion of Solano County, including Vallejo and Benicia, and much of Contra Costa County.  Here’s a map:

California Assembly District 14 map


Please vote for Mae Torlakson in the June 7 primary.

ENDORSEMENT: Don Saylor for California Assembly (with appreciation for Dan Wolk)

Editor:  The Benicia Independent endorses Don Saylor of Davis for Assembly District 4 this November (Don Lynne Nittler’s letter speaks for me – see below. Another good candidate, Davis Mayor Dan Wolk, has expressed strong concerns about oil train safety and joined with the Davis City Council in opposing crude by rail, but has not risen to the level of diligence, outreach and follow-through that Mr. Saylor has shown on Valero’s proposal (  Many thanks to both for their efforts.  – RS

Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor for California Assembly, District 4

By Lynne Nittler, in her email of May 15, 2016
Don Saylor for California Assembly District 4
Don Saylor for California Assembly District 4

Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor stands out as an uprail public official committed from early on to stopping the dangerous transport of crude oil through our natural habitat and populated areas.  He wasted no time in directing his staff to research and compose a letter insisting that uprail concerns had to be addressed in the EIR.  On the draft EIR, Yolo County wrote a second letter detailing the impacts of the unsafe oil trains, and when the response was inadequate, added a third letter response to the revised draft EIR.

Meanwhile, as President of Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), Don Saylor also led the 22 cities and 6 counties of SACOG to respond to the regional threat of oil trains with a series of hard-hitting letters during the EIR process.

His deep concerns even took him to Washington DC where he conferred with our local Congressman John Garamendi on stabilizing crude at the loading site as perhaps the only acceptable method of making the Bakken crude safe to transport by rail.

Don continues to monitor the volatile issue closely, as 500,000 of the 2.4 million SACOG residents live at risk in the blast zone.   Most recently, he took time to testify before the Benicia City Council in hopes of convincing them of the enormous impacts to uprail communities and to our state.

We are fortunate to have such a diligent public official.  While an independent PAC of outside oil corporations including Valero as well as other PACS have intruded with huge campaign contributions to one candidate for the District 4 Assembly race (including Lake and Napa Counties, most of Yolo County, and part of Colusa, Solano, and Sonoma Counties ), Don Saylor has not been chosen for such outside support.

If elected, we can count on Don to work and vote as he always has for programs that benefit our region.  Don Saylor will continue to keep a watchful eye on oil trains if he is elected to the CA Assembly.