When Oil Refineries Flare, What Happens To The Air?

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A power outage on May 5, 2017, at Benicia's Valero refinery led to a prolonged episode of flaring during which more than 80,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide were released into the air.  (California Environmental Protection Agency)

On May 5th, 2017 the power went out at the Valero oil refinery in Benicia. Above the refinery, flares blazed and released thick clouds of black smoke. The surrounding areas were evacuated and nearby schools were ordered to shelter-in-place. In the days and weeks that followed, the flares released more than 80,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide. Tonight, the Benicia City Council will consider whether to add more air monitors and regulations.

Guest: Ted Goldberg, morning editor for KQED

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