Get Valero Out of San Antonio’s Butterfly Festival!

Monika Maeckle, Texas Butterfly Ranch, Monarch Butterfly & Pollinator Festival, and all Festival organizers, participants, and supporters


The annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival is a welcome opportunity to celebrate our solidarity with our planet and Her many living systems. For that reason, allowing the world’s largest independent refiner of polluting fossil fuels to underwrite the festival is the height of hypocrisy and a betrayal of our values.


How can we claim to be celebrating endangered monarchs in good faith while partnering with and promoting a company knowingly picking apart the earth’s life-support system? A company that daily blankets low-income and BIPOC communities in the United States under toxic clouds? A company that has repeatedly lobbied to delay federal action on global warming?


San Antonio-based Valero Energy just reported record-breaking $4.7 BILLION quarterly profits as our families were held captive at the pump paying over $4/gallon. As they robbed us at the pump to enrich themselves, Valero ramped up air pollution at their refineries way beyond permitted limits. They continued to poison the Manchester community of Houston with hydrogen cyanide and were just discovered secretly releasing toxic chemicals for years into neighborhoods outside a California refinery.


Dirty fuels are destroying the planet and poisoning our families. We’ve had enough.


We call on Monika Maeckle (@monicam), founder of the Texas Butterfly Ranch and the Monarch Butterfly & Pollinator Festival, and all Festival organizers to part ways with Valero and commit to making the festival a truly biosphere-friendly event.


We are troubled by the Festival’s selection of Brackenridge Park for this year’s festivities, as bird and tree protectors have documented violence against migratory birds by City parks staff for many months and continue to resist the removal of elder trees at this sacred site. We also urge them to reconsider their practice of breeding and “tagging” butterflies for release into the wild at the festival. See the paper “Captive-reared migratory monarchs fly in the wrong direction” for information on the potential problems with this approach. This paper concludes the answer to monarch decline is found not in breeding programs but in policy changes—which would include habitat protection, pesticide reductions, and a rapid transition away from drought- and warming-linked fossil fuels.


We call on festival participants to stop collaborating with the Texas Butterfly Ranch until we scrub ecocide out of the festival.


Join us and make this call heard.


More about Valero refineries:


  • Port Arthur, TX: Valero’s Port Arthur refinery dates back to 1901. Of the roughly 3,000 people who live within 2 miles of the plant, over 90% are African-American and 60% are low-income. Located directly next door is the country’s largest oil refinery (owned by Motiva, a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco). Exxon Mobil and Total also operate refineries in the region. The neighborhood ranks above the 95th percentile nationally for both the EPA’s air toxics cancer risk and respiratory hazard metrics.

  • Houston, TX: Valero’s Houston refinery, built in 1942, is one of eight oil refineries along the Houston shipping channel. Roughly 26,000 people live within 2 miles of the Valero plant. More than 80% are Hispanic, and more than half are low-income residents. Refineries operated by Chevron, Kinder Morgan, and Access Industries are located nearby. The area ranks above the 95th percentile nationally for air toxics cancer risk, and in the 80-90th percentile for respiratory hazard.

  • Norco, LA: The St. Charles refinery is located along the Mississippi River in Louisiana’s infamous “Cancer Alley.” Shell also operates a refinery nearby. Marathon’s Garyville refinery is a few miles upriver. The 4,400 residents living within 2 miles of the refinery are about 84% white and 26% low-income. According to the EPA, this area has extremely high health risks, ranking above the 95th percentile in both air toxics cancer risk and respiratory hazard.

  • Other Valero refineries located in low-income communities of color include facilities in Wilmington, CA, Corpus Christi, TX, and Memphis, TN.

For more, see GreenPeace’s report on Valero's lobbying against climate action and poisoning communities—mostly low-income and people of color—across the United States.

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San Antonio, TX

To: Monika Maeckle, Texas Butterfly Ranch, Monarch Butterfly & Pollinator Festival, and all Festival organizers, participants, and supporters
From: [Your Name]

We call on Monika Maeckle, founder of the Texas Butterfly Ranch and the Monarch Butterfly & Pollinator Festival, and all Festival organizers to part ways with Valero and commit to making the festival a truly biosphere-friendly event.

This call to action is supported by:

Deceleration News

Southwest Workers Union

Yanawana Herbolarios

Autonomous Brown Berets De San Anto

Society Of Native Nations

Climate Justice San Antonio

Friends of the Migratory Birds in San Antonio

SATX Permaculture

Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas

Friends of Migratory Birds in San Antonio

Public Citizen