BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING:
Join Zoom call with option for public speaking here.
Update: After an hour of staff presentations, questions from the Board of Directors, and 5 1/2 hours of impassioned public testimony, the Board lost its quorum and the clock ran out on the scheduled June vote on BAAQMD’s Rule 6-5. It has been continued to July 21st at 8:30 AM. There will be further opportunity for public comment, but those comments will be limited to 30 seconds, and only if you didn’t speak at the June 2nd meeting.
Previous action alert:
Join the Bay Area public in demanding that BAAQMD adopt the strictest refinery regulation of particulate matter emissions!
Last March, a majority of the BAAQMD Stationary Source Committee voted 7-4 to send the most stringent proposal for Rule 6.5*—a measure to reduce health-destroying particulate matter from the Chevron and Marathon refineries—to the full Board of Directors. The community turned out in force and made eloquent, persuasive comments in favor of the tightest possible regulation of Bay Area refinery particulate matter emissions, or PM 2.5, the primary cause of our “stationary” (non-transportation) air pollution–related illness. They demanded that these refineries install wet scrubbing technology in the chambers that break down heavy oils—the Fluidized Catalytic Cracking Units (FCCUs), or “cat crackers”—on the earliest feasible timeline, as recommended by BAAQMD’s own Advisory Board.
BAAQMD staff has been taking the indefensible position that oil companies’ costs outweigh the health benefits of wet scrubbing technology, already in place at Valero in Benicia as well as over half of U.S. refineries. They’ve justified this stance by accepting industry’s extravagant cost claims and grossly underestimating the health consequences—asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and stroke—borne primarily by low-income, Black, and Brown residents of frontline communities.
It’s clear that industry has been pulling out all the stops to prevent Board approval of the most health-protective standards: every union member (from unions opposing this rule) was instructed to call in to the June 2nd meeting and speak in opposition. This is wildly unprecedented. While this struggle is again being framed as the environment vs. jobs, what is not generally understood is that job loss in the fossil fuel industry is not driven by environmental regulations: it’s market forces that are to blame.
Talking points here.
*See a detailed analysis of “Rule 6-5” and its potential to reduce enormous health impacts in this December post.