Benicia resident Andrés Soto can’t see Valero Energy Corp.’s oil refinery from his home in the old part of town near the waterfront. But the company’s fingerprints are all over the city, from its name on Little League baseball outfield signs to its logo on charitable donor lists.
A longtime environmental justice organizer, Soto recalls disasters including the 2012 Chevron refinery fires in Richmond that sent 15,000 people to local hospitals with respiratory problems and a 2017 power failure at Valero that caused 14 days of flaring that released 74,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide.
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.