Detailed testimony calling for an EIR
Valero’s proposed rail terminal came before Benicia’s Planning Commission on July 11. The public hearing was a critical moment for citizen concerns to be heard, and heard they were. Many Benicians and Bay Area experts asked for a more thorough process of review than the current “Initial Study” and “Mitigated Negative Declaration” prepared by City staff and an outside consultant. Over and over again, the Commission heard requests that they require the project to undergo a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
Valero supporters were present and gave their green light to the project, citing the many ways that the company serves their interests and those of Benicia.
Commissioners raised excellent questions, but Valero and City staff chose to delay any attempts at giving answers until they have had more time to prepare carefully studied responses. Staff responses are promised by Friday, August 2.
At the end of the meeting, City staff assured Commissioners and the public that additional comments on the project would be welcome, but then indicated that comments on the Initial Study and Negative Declaration were now closed. I was a bit confused by this. For now, if you want to comment, send a letter or email anytime prior to the next Commission meeting on August 8. Your PRESENCE at the meeting will speak even more loudly. Please plan to attend.
Written comments may be sent to City Manager Brad Kilger by email email@example.com with a copy to the Community Development Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.