San Francisco Bay Area residents coexisting with major oil refineries

Photo Essay By Megan Vaneck, CONTRIBUTOR
The San Francisco Bay Area is home to five separate oil refineries. Despite their toxic existence, residents have come to accept their billowing smokestacks and hefty tanks as just another part of everyday life. We have reluctantly learned to coexist with what essentially amounts to five well-regulated bombs in our midst, hoping with each new day that this is not a day for disaster to strike.


A youth baseball field sits outside the Marathon Refinery fence line in Martinez, California on March 1.


A scoreboard in the outfield reads “TESORO,” the oil company that owned the refinery prior to Marathon.


The youth baseball field is surrounded by the refinery for a full 180 degrees.


Canadian geese foraging for food and lounging on a soccer field in front of Marathon refinery.


A neighborhood in Benicia, California overlooks the Valero refinery from the top of East 5th Street and Hillcrest Ave on March 3.