BREAKING: Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) highly critical of Valero oil train EIR
The Benicia Independent is in receipt of a Sacramento Area Council of Government letter sent on February 4, 2016 to the City of Benicia, but not as yet posted on the City’s website. The letter is severely critical of the City’s Final EIR, and calls for the Benicia Planning Commission to “provide full and adequate responses to our comment letters,” and “to fully evaluate all measures to mitigate the significant environmental impacts that this Project will inevitably have on our communities and our residents.”
The letter is signed by SACOG Immediate Past Chair Don Saylor. SACOG represents 22 cities and 6 counties in the Sacramento area.
The letter begins by summarizing two previous letters sent to Benicia, one in 2014 commenting on the original Draft EIR, and another in 2015 commenting on the Revised DEIR. The 2015 letter claimed that the City did not adequately respond to their first letter. “…we submitted a second comment letter citing the mandate in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to describe all mitigation measures that could, if implemented, minimize significant environmental effects. (CEQA Guidelines, §§ 15 I26(c), 15126.1 (a).) We urged the City to adopt all feasible mitigation measures that will protect our communities before the catastrophic events forecast by the RDEIR occur. We noted that nearly one quarter of our region’s population lives within one-half mile of the crude oil shipments.”
This new 2016 letter continues with criticism of the Final Draft EIR, “…we appreciate that the City finally acknowledges the substantial risk to our region resulting from the crude oil shipments. However, the FEIR still fails to adopt a single mitigation measure to address the impacts of the Project and the FEIR fails to adequately respond to our letters.”
The letter concludes with five detailed examples of “the inadequacies and misstatements in the Responses to our comment letters.”
Taken together, these inadequacies point out what may be understood as “fatal flaws,” indicating that the EIR should be revised and recirculated yet again, or thrown out for a fresh start.
Or … as in my opinion, the project should simply be dropped.