Press Release




Mike Barbanica

Mike Barbanica’s Message To Residents On Public Health & Safety At The Martinez Refining Company

Public safety has always and will continue to remain a top priority for me, especially as it relates to public health.

As the public is aware, the Martinez Refining Company has made headlines over the past year, as there have been an unacceptable number of incidents reported in terms of releases and flaring. I have obtained the letter issued by Contra Costa Health which outlines 21 incidents since November of 2022. 

I have reached out to and personally met with members of the community and listened to their concerns. Additionally, I have met with representatives of the refinery to talk about these incidents and what can be done in the future to ensure public safety. There is a great deal of consistency between both groups related to concerns and issues. I am committed to ensuring safety for our community and will work with the residents and the refinery to ensure safety for all. 

I have conveyed the following concerns to the representatives of the refinery: 

  1. Flaring- Flaring can take place as a result of scheduled events or a spontaneous occurrence as a safety measure to avoid a larger release. Any scheduled event should be communicated to the public in advance and limited when possible. 
  2. Training- The refinery has experienced substantial turnover of personnel since 2020. It is my concern that continually hiring new
  3. staff will result in a delay and a gap in training. Having a robust training program with ongoing advanced training and surprise drills is essential. Safety training combined with general operations training is required to operate a safe refinery. 
  4. Commitment To Lower Emissions- The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has demanded wet gas scrubbers be installed to lower emissions. There is currently a court case where this demand is being litigated. Regardless of the outcome, I want a commitment from the refinery to lower the emissions consistent to that of an operating wet gas scrubber. 
  5. Inspections- Contra Costa Health has performed inspections within this plant. I want these inspections to continue on both a scheduled and unscheduled or surprise basis, allowing the inspection team access to every area of the plant. 
  6. Transparency and Releases Affecting The Community- 21 incidents since November 2022 is a concern to the community and to me. I would like a study of each with results released to the public showing any common thread and a plan of how to address this, including incorporating the more intense training program to alleviate incidents from occurring in the future. 

I am committed to assuring public health and safety, and if elected to the Board of Supervisors, will continue and intensify these efforts. I take these matters very seriously and will work with the community and the refinery to ensure that we are working together to live in a safe environment.

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