Valero to pay huge fines – again – for air quality violations

Repost from the Vallejo Times-Herald
[Editor: These fines are routinely written off by giant Valero as a cost of doing business.  Examples from recent years: Valero Benicia Refinery fined $122,500 in 2016.  And fined $183,000 in 2014.  IMPORTANT: Benicia Mayor Patterson and residents have repeatedly petitioned the Bay Area Air District to channel at least SOME of these fines to the affected community.  The District has suggested responsiveness, but failed to engage meaningfully.  Again in today’s news, the District will keep the fines for its own use, leaving the polluted community adrift in the wind (as it were).  – R.S.]

Valero paying $266,000 for air quality violation

By John Glidden, October 10, 2018 5:45 pm | UPDATED: 7:38 pm
A photo of the Valero Benicia Refinery taken at night in May 2014.

BENICIA — Valero Refining Co. will pay $266,000 to settle 22 air quality violations that took place mostly in 2016 at the Valero Benicia Refinery, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) announced this week.

“This settlement helps to ensure that Valero remains vigilant in running its operations according to all air quality regulations,” said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of BAAQMD, in a district news release. “Our air district enforcement and source testing teams, together with a variety of other tools are in place to ensure refineries comply with their permits.”

Eleven of the violations were for exceeding emission limits, with nine of them being detected by monitors which measure emissions from refinery equipment, the air district said in a news release. Officials said the other two violations were discovered by a source test conducted by the facility’s contractor and by a BAAQMD inspector.

Seven additional violations were recorded for hydrocarbon leaks from storage tanks or lines, while two violations were given because there were errors in an inspection database which resulted in missed leak inspections for valves omitted from the database, officials explained in the same release.

Single violations were assessed for a missed calibration on an emissions monitor and a failed monitor accuracy test, officials said.

The Air District said in the same release that violators must respond to a violation notice within ten days and further submit a detailed description of what actions they will take to correct the problem.

Officials said the settlement funds will be by the air district to fund future inspection and enforcement activities.

A representative with Valero couldn’t be reached for comment prior to press deadline.