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The City has had a strained relationship with Valero over the last few years, and that can and should be improved. Valero is the City's largest employer and taxpayer, and contributes significantly, both directly and indirectly, to the City General Fund. They also are generous contributors to local charities and non-profit organizations.  


At the same time, we must recognize that they operate an oil refinery that, while heavily regulated and with an increased focus on safety,  does occasionally have accidents that are potentially dangerous to the public. 


The City's first obligation is to protect the health and safety of its residents. A settlement with Valero and the Good Neighbor Steering Committee last year resulted in several improvements, including additional air monitors around the refinery as well as the purchase of sophisticated mobile monitors for use by the Fire Department. The settlement also provides that Valero will pay for a full time liaison within the Fire Department.


There is still room to improve transparency and communication between Valero, the City and the community. In the event of an accident or unplanned flaring, people need to know immediately what is happening, and be provided information to let them know how to respond.


There are many ways that Valero and the City could work more closely together. Valero produces asphalt and refines gasoline. The City uses a lot of both of these products. Could there not be a mutually beneficial agreement for the purchase of these products?




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Steve Young for Mayor

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