By Roger Straw
At our membership meeting of June 18, PDB voted unanimously (with one abstention) to ask Benicia City Council to support the issuance of an Industrial Safety Ordinance (ISO) for the City of Benicia and approve Mayor Patterson’s request to direct City Staff to review a Draft ISO. Our recommendation was that staff report findings back to the City Council no more than 90 days from June 19, 2018.
Acting Chairperson Craig Snider drew up a resolution following our meeting expressing our concerns, and presented it at City Council the following evening, June 19.
After much discussion lasting until 1 AM, the City Council voted 3-2 to reject Mayor Patterson’s request and to wait and watch what Valero and regulatory agencies do based on recent new regional and state air monitoring regulations, and to engage Valero and regulatory agencies in discussions.
Two Council members qualified their rejection of the proposed ISO. Council members Campbell and Schwartzman stated for the record that if Valero does not install certain Air-District-required “fenceline” air monitors within 6 months, they would vote to impose an industrial safety ordinance. All five Council members also would like to see “community” air monitors.
Draft minutes detailing Council’s 6/19 decision read as follows:
On motion of Council Member Hughes, seconded by Council Member Schwartzman, Council approved Option #2 in the staff report, directing Staff to monitor Solano County’s implementation of Program Four, directing Staff to meet with Valero and the appropriate regulatory agencies to address the few gaps that exist between Contra Costa County’s ISO and Program #4, including more effective and frequent communications with the City, Valero, and the community, fence line monitors installed within 6 months (while that was going on, the community monitoring could be negotiated), an evacuation plan, and having a report back to the City Council the first meeting in November, on a roll call by the following vote:
Ayes: Campbell, Hughes, Schwartzman
Noes: Young, Patterson
Council will meet on Tuesday, June 19. Be there if you can! Lots of info from the Benicia Independent below. Background and documentation at beniciaindependent.com/iso/
CALL TO ACTION: BENICIA CITY COUNCIL AGENDA & IMPORTANT ISO DOCUMENTS – JUNE 19, 2018
JUNE 15, 2018 by Roger Straw
Staff for the City of Benicia posted an agenda and multiple important attachments for the June 19 City Council meeting yesterday – see links far below on this page. Most important are a 32-page Draft Industrial Safety Ordinance prepared and submitted by a local citizens’ ISO Working Group under the sure hand of … Continue reading →
MAYOR PATTERSON’S REQUEST FOR COUNCIL ACTION ON ISO
JUNE 15, 2018, Excerpt from Mayor Patterson’s E-Alert
I believe we need to have a seat at the table, the public’s right to know and air monitors to restore the public trust that we are putting health, safety and welfare at the top. I am asking the … Continue reading→
MAKING SENSE OF AIR MONITORING (PART 1)
JUNE 15, 2018, Repost from the Benicia Herald, by the Benicia ISO Working Group
Most of the time, you cannot see dirty air – for example you can’t see particulates. We know that particulates increase the age-specific mortality risk, particularly from cardiovascular causes. In fact, epidemiological studies suggest public … Continue reading →
BENICIA HERALD: SECOND STEP OF INDUSTRIAL SAFETY ORDINANCE PROCESS ON COUNCIL AGENDA
JUNE 15, 2018 Repost from the Benicia Herald by Nick Sestanovich
More than a year after the Benicia City Council approved the first step in a two-step process to consider bringing an Industrial Safety Ordinance (ISO) to Benicia, the council will resume its discussion Tuesday … Continue reading→
BENICIA ISO IN A NUTSHELL
MAY 14, 2018 By Roger Straw
Benicia needs an Industrial Safety Ordinance – 3 important points to be made: 1. We don’t know what is in the air, and we have asthma rates three times the state average. We need air monitors NOW, and state/regional regulations will be slow in coming. 2. ISO is budget neutral for the City. … Continue reading →
Air District to discuss implementation of additional air monitoring for cities near refineries
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) will hold a workshop in Benicia at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall, 1155 First St., from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on March 5. The workshop in Benicia is the fourth in a series of workshops that earlier stopped in Richmond, Martinez, and Vallejo.
According to the Air District, Regulation 12-Rule-15 was adopted in 2016 to implement additional air monitoring in communities located near refineries. The purpose of the workshop is provide the public “an opportunity to learn about current and upcoming monitoring at or near refineries, ask questions to Air District staff, (and) share information about their communities and their ideas about future monitoring efforts.”
While the Air District says its current regional ambient air monitoring system has over 30 air quality monitoring stations, PDB notes that none are located within Benicia’s environs. Other than a monitor located on one of Valero’s stacks, the only other Benicia air monitor is located at Ruszel Woodworks, installed by the Ruszels themselves.
Continue reading Air Monitoring Workshop in Benicia on March 5 →