Fill out our survey: What you would like to see for Rodeo?
Under the direction of County Supervisor Federal Glover, the County has quietly negotiated a Community Benefits Agreement with Phillips 66 as part of its approval of a Land Use Permit for “Rodeo Renewed,” P66’s Renewable Diesel, or biodiesel conversion project.
The funding proposed by the County’s Community Benefits Agreement is supposed to help with “projects and programs that benefit the communities near the Refinery by improving the health, well-being, and quality of life of residents.” To us, that means just compensation for any harms to the community caused by the refining of new feedstocks, and other changes like the projected increase in marine traffic. These negative impacts could include increased explosions, polluting emissions, and excessive noise and odors, all of which would adversely affect community health and our quality of life. These health and safety issues can also have negative economic consequences, which this financially distressed community can ill afford.
For the County, however, community benefits are to specifically “support building and sustaining a strong and resilient local economy and workforce, including the development and implementation of workforce development and training programs to prepare residents for new renewable and clean energy career pathways and jobs.” While this is an admirable goal, and one that will help jumpstart the County’s just transition efforts, this exclusive focus ignores the broader needs of our youth and our elderly, and does not address our many other pressing needs.
The Community Benefits Agreement negotiated between Phillips 66 and the County will amount to $700,000 per year over a period of 13 years. We believe that amount is not nearly enough to even begin to meet the long unmet needs of Rodeo. That relatively small amount of money is equivalent to paying the combined wages and benefits for about three refinery workers, and yet Rodeo has nearly 10,000 residents!
In contrast, Phillips 66 will be receiving up to $3.32 per gallon in state and federal subsidies for producing renewable diesel from vegetable oils and animal fats. For the 1.2 billion gallons of renewable diesel the refinery could produce per year, the total subsidies for Phillips 66 could easily exceed $3 billion per year. And this is before the product even goes to market.
We think there is something wrong with this picture.
At the May 2022 Board of Supervisors meeting at which P66’s project was approved, a member of the Rodeo Citizens Association suggested that “Rodeo deserves one cent per gallon” for each renewable diesel gallon produced. This amount would add up to $12 million each year over the life of the project and would substantially ease a number of Rodeo’s problems, such as the health impacts of the refinery processes itself. This funding could also address Rodeo’s chronic blight throughout the downtown area and the town’s long-term lack of infrastructure development. It could also provide badly needed social programs for youth, the elderly, and families without adequate financial resources.
In the bigger picture, we consider the Community Benefits Agreement negotiated by Phillips 66 and the County as marginally better than nothing. However, a true Community Benefits Agreement of a mere “one cent per gallon” would direct to Rodeo nearly 15 times the amount negotiated with the county. A far more generous “one cent per gallon” Community Benefits Agreement would help to put in reverse the painfully visible long-term physical decline of Rodeo and accelerate the creation of a far more robust community. However, this can happen only with the active support, ideas and vision of the local community. What do you want to see happen for the benefit of yourselves and your children?
A significant Community Benefits Agreement such as One-Cent Per Gallon could include:
- Waterfront Development to preserves environment and provides recreation opportunity
- Parks and Rec contributions to the Lefty Gomez Field, the Rodeo Baseball Association, and the new Community Garden/public pool project
- Increase Sheriff Protection by funding resident deputy/deputies dedicated to Rodeo
- Financial support for Rodeo special districts:
- –fire district
- –sanitation district
- –parks & recreation district, creek and wildlife
- –office of emergency management, for evacuation plans, and chemical exposure
- –public works for trash removal/improve, repave all roads
- New Rodeo Health Center/Lifelong Medical Care fully staffed and operating
- Community Center Facility, staffed to serve
- Refurbish the pool property on Laurel Court along with a Community Garden
- Senior Center Facility, staffed to serve with activities and meals
- Town Plaza (for real this time!)
- Care for the unhoused/homeless population
- Grants for Small Businesses, new and existing; Grants for Education; Grants for Environmental Community projects; Grants for other Community Projects
P66 wants a “State-of-the-Art” refinery…
Well, Make Rodeo a “State-of-the-Art” Town
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Link to our short survey: What you would like to see for Rodeo?