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In Benicia's City Council Race, the Valero Refinery Is on People's Minds

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Tall stacks at a refinery spew clouds of smoke.
Smokestacks and machinery are visible at Valero's Benicia Refinery, in February 2022. The Bay area plant processes crude oil. (Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Benicia is home to an oil refinery operated by Valero, which employs hundreds of people and contributes tax revenue totaling an estimated 20% of the city’s general budget.

The company has also played a very active role in local elections. Valero’s political action committee spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2018 and 2020.

Now, with this year’s city council race underway — and residents frustrated over recent controversies at the refinery — Valero’s role in Benicia looms large once again.

Guest: Scott Morris, reporter for the Vallejo Sun


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