DERAILMENT: Train Derails at Port of Tacoma

Repost from KIRO TV, Seattle WA

Oil tank cars derail near Port of Tacoma; no spills or injuries

Righting derailed train could take until midnight

Updated: Apr 22, 2016 – 2:52 PM

TACOMA, Wash — An empty tanker train has derailed at the Port of Tacoma, with 18 cars off the tracks.

The train belongs to Tacoma Rail and all of the tank cars are empty.

Tacoma firefighters at the scene said there were no spills and no one was hurt.

Lincoln is closed at 11th Avenue. It may take until midnight to get the car upright again.

Some businesses have been affected by the scene.


    Earth Day poem: In Praise of the Earth

    Distributed by email…

    An Earth Day poem

    InPraiseOfTheEarthIn Praise of the Earth

    By John O’Donohue

    Let us bless
    The imagination of the Earth.
    That knew early the patience
    To harness the mind of time,
    Waited for the seas to warm,
    Ready to welcome the emergence
    Of things dreaming of voyaging
    Among the stillness of land.

    And how light knew to nurse
    The growth until the face of the Earth
    Brightened beneath a vision of color.

    When the ages of ice came
    And sealed the Earth inside
    An endless coma of cold,
    The heart of the Earth held hope,
    Storing fragments of memory,
    Ready for the return of the sun.

    Let us thank the Earth
    That offers ground for home
    And holds our feet firm
    To walk in space open
    To infinite galaxies.

    Let us salute the silence
    And certainty of mountains:
    Their sublime stillness,
    Their dream-filled hearts.

    The wonder of a garden
    Trusting the first warmth of spring
    Until its black infinity of cells
    Becomes charged with dream;
    Then the silent, slow nurture
    Of the seed’s self, coaxing it
    To trust the act of death.

    The humility of the Earth
    That transfigures all
    That has fallen
    Of outlived growth.

    The kindness of the Earth,
    Opening to receive
    Our worn forms
    Into the final stillness.

    Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
    For all our sins against her:
    For our violence and poisonings
    Of her beauty.

    Let us remember within us
    The ancient clay,
    Holding the memory of seasons,
    The passion of the wind,
    The fluency of water,
    The warmth of fire,
    The quiver-touch of the sun
    And shadowed sureness of the moon.

    That we may awaken,
    To live to the full
    The dream of the Earth
    Who chose us to emerge
    And incarnate its hidden night
    In mind, spirit, and light.

    ~ John O’Donohue ~

    (From To Bless the Space Between Us)


      ARGUS: Benicia seeks federal guidance on Valero rail

      Repost (lead-in only) from Argus Media

      Benicia seeks federal guidance on Valero rail

      21 Apr 2016, 5.46 pm GMT

      Houston, 21 April (Argus) — Officials in Benicia, California, have delayed a decision on an embattled Valero rail project proposal for up to five months to seek clarification from federal regulators.

      The Benicia city council on 19 April voted to delay a decision until as late as 20 September as they seek an opinion from the Surface Transportation Board on whether federal rail regulations preempted local control over land use involving a proposed 70,000 b/d railed crude unloading facility at Valero’s 170,000 b/d refinery in the city.

      “That is a precious decision-making ability that we have as a city and I wouldn’t give that up easily,” Benicia mayor Elizabeth Patterson, a project opponent, said before voting against the decision during the meeting. “I will go down fighting.”  (continued…)




        VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD: Valero crude oil by rail decision delayed to September

        Repost from the Vallejo Times-Herald

        Benicia: Valero crude oil by rail decision delayed to September

        By Irma Widjojo, 04/21/16, 12:01 AM PDT

        BENICIA — The public will have to wait until at least late summer for a possible resolution on Valero Benicia Refinery’s controversial crude-by-rail project, after the City Council voted 3-2 to postpone a decision to Sept. 20.

        Vice Mayor Mark Hughes, Councilwoman Christina Strawbridge and Councilman Alan Schwartzman said they need more information to make any decision on the project, while Mayor Elizabeth Patterson and Councilman Tom Campbell said they are ready to move forward.

        In December 2012, the refinery submitted an application seeking permission to build infrastructure to bring two 50-car trains a day carrying up to 70,000 barrels of North American crude oil into Benicia. The issue has sparked intense debate in the Solano County city amid growing environmental and safety concerns surrounding crude-by-rail traffic nationwide.

        The issue of postponement was raised when Valero submitted the request last month during the first day of the appeal hearing. An attorney representing the company said the refinery is seeking to send a request for a declaratory order from the Surface Transportation Board, or STB, on the issue of federal pre-emption in regards to the project.

        “I’m really frustrated with the whole pre-emption issue,” Schwartzman said following Tuesday’s vote. “If there’s an opportunity to narrow down that pre-emption issue, then gosh darn it, I want that opportunity. Let’s ask (Surface Transportation Board) and get some type of feedback. I know this is an emotional issue … but in my mind, at this particular point, there’s a lot of uncertainty.”

        Much of the discussion during the Planning Commission hearing on the project revolved around federal pre-emption.

        City staff and Valero asserted that the city is legally prohibited from imposing any mitigation measures on rail-related impacts, or denying the project because of those reasons. However, the commission unanimously voted to deny the project and declined to certify its environmental report citing vagueness in the law.

        The report indicates that all 11 “significant and unavoidable” impacts are rail-related.

        Valero officials said they plan to send the request to STB in 30 days, and estimated that an order will be issued within six months.

        If no response is received by Sept. 20, the council would decide if it would wait further or make a decision based on current information.

        “We are glad that the council took up our recommendation to seek more info from STB,” said Chris Howe, Valero’s health, safety and environment director.

        Patterson and Campbell, who opposed the postponement, also said they were going to vote to deny the permit use application based on the information given. While Patterson said she was not going to vote to certify the project’s environmental impact report, Campbell said he would.

        Meanwhile, state Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office sent a strongly worded letter to the city earlier this month saying it disagrees with the city staff and Valero’s conclusion that the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination ACT, or ICCTA, prohibits the city from taking rail-related impacts into account while deciding on the project.