By Roger Straw, April 17, 2016
Council Agenda for Apr 18 – staff documents in support of Valero
Don’t fail to notice the significance of the Agenda for the Benicia City Council hearing on Monday, April 18. The Agenda was published on April 13 without any mention that there was a strongly worded staff report supporting Valero. The agenda has 11 attachments, linked below.
- Crude By Rail Staff Report 4-18-2016 FINAL.pdf (This 19-page document includes 42 questions raised by Council members with staff responses, all supporting Valero’s proposal. Staff concludes with “Staff’s recommendation for the Valero Crude by Rail Project FEIR and Use permit has not altered.”)
- Attachment 1- Memo Surface Transportation Board Process (2-page memo by Benicia’s consulting attorney Brad Hogin, defining STB Declaratory Orders, and laying out procedures of the STB. Hogin points out that the STB does sometimes institute “declaratory order proceedings based on petitions filed by parties that are not rail carriers.”)
- Attachment 3- MRS Response Letter to Fox Comments (8-page letter by the City’s consultant, Marine Research Specialists, defending its “Quantitative Risk Analysis” against criticism by Dr. Phyllis Fox.)
- Attachment 2 – ESA Response Memo to Fox Comments (5-page letter by the City’s consultant, ESA, defending its against criticism by Dr. Phyllis Fox on air quality and flooding.)
- Attachment 4 – Barkan Memo (4-page letter on crude by rail statistics by Christopher P.L. Barkan, professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This is actually a very interesting document, with several tables of figures in response to questions about derailments, spills and explosions.)
- Attachment 5- Andrew Chang Response Letter (4-page letter defending its report on fiscal and economic impacts. Admits to no errors or overstatements.)
- Attachment 6- SLO References to Preemption (52 pages from the San Luis Obispo environmental report, concluding with the findings for denial.)
- Attachment 7 -SEA-3, Inc. Surface Transportation Board Decision (7-page STB denial of a declaratory order petition, with guidance.)
- Attachment 8 – Project Train Valero Property Diagram (1 page with two drawings showing the length of a 50-car crude oil train and the proposed unloading rack on Valero’s property.)
- Attachment 9 – October 1, 2013 Council Report for Hogin’s Contract (2 page amendment providing for additional funds beyond $50,000 for consulting attorney Hogin to work on Valero Crude by Rail. Glowing statements are made about his qualifications. An attached Statement of Qualifications is not included in this PDF.)
- Attachment 10- Public Comments Submitted April 7-12 2016 (Index on p. 1 shows letters from the City of Berkeley, Communities for a Better Environment, Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community and 15 individuals, every one of which oppose Valero’s proposal. In addition, the document shows a sample of an “identical letter” and lists several individuals there with no indication whether they submitted such an identical letter or some other letter.)
- Attachment 11 – Speakers List for April 18 (This is the City’s lists of individuals who filled out a comment card, including those who have not had an opportunity to speak and will be called on during the April 18, 2016 meeting, and those who already had a turn to speak during the April 4th or April 6th meetings, and will not be eligible to speak again.