Tag Archives: Diane Bailey

Benicia Community Forum & Update, January 18, 1-4pm, Benicia Library

ANNOUNCING . . .
Community Forum & Update, Sunday, January 18, 1-4pm, Benicia Library

FacebookStopCrudeByOil_cover(267)Learn more about Valero’s crude by rail project and how it might affect Benicia residents at a Community Informational Forum on Sunday, January 18, 2015, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at the Benicia Public Library, 150 East L Street, Doña Benicia Room. The Forum is sponsored by Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community (BSHC), a grassroots organization advocating responsible environmental action and currently working to STOP crude by rail in Benicia.

You’ll hear from guest speakers:

  • Antonia Juhasz, oil and energy analyst, award-winning author and investigative journalist, and
  • Diane Bailey, Senior Scientist in the Health and Environment Program for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Members of BSHC will also provide an update on our work.

  • Marilyn Bardet will discuss the history and status of the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).
  • Andrés Soto will discuss the local, regional and cumulative impacts of transporting crude oil by rail. There will be plenty of time for questions, discussion and brainstorming.

For more information about the Community Forum or BSHC, please call (707) 742-3597, or email info@SafeBenicia.  For more information about Valero Crude by Rail check out  SafeBenicia.orgOf course, you can find lots of info here on BeniciaIndependent.org.

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    Benicia Valero Crude-by-Rail comment period closes with a landslide of criticism

    By Roger Straw

    The Benicia Independent makes it easier for you to read comments of INDIVIDUAL state and regional agencies and organizations. See our updated Project Review page (or just see below).

    Something UNUSUAL happened in Benicia on September 15, the final day of the public comment period on the Draft EIR on Valero’s Crude By Rail proposal. I understand that opponents of a project will almost always wait until the last day to submit public comments. But not only did a remarkable NUMBER of critical comments arrive in the City of Benicia’s inbox on September 15 – there was a dramatic landslide of comments from significant governmental agencies and environmental organizations, including…

    Also highly significant on September 15 were written comments from four of Benicia’s Planning Commissioners: Steve Young, George Oakes, Susan Cohen Grossman and Belinda Smith.

    Prior to September 15, the City also received critical comments from the

    These documents are also downloadable from Project Review.

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      California cities’ crude-by-rail opposition makes national news

      Repost from The Miami Herald

      As oil shipments rise on rails, California cities fight to be heard

      By Curtis Tate and Tony Bizjak
      McClatchy  Newspapers                           
       A tanker truck is filled from railway cars containing crude oil on railroad tracks in McClellan Park in North Highlands on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. North Highlands is a suburb just outside the city limits of Sacramento, CA.
      A tanker truck is filled from railway cars containing crude oil on railroad tracks in McClellan Park in North Highlands on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. North Highlands is a suburb just outside the city limits of Sacramento, CA.        Randall Benton    /     MCT 

      SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As rail shipments of crude oil have risen in Northern California, so has opposition in many communities along rail lines and near the refineries they supply.

      Concerned about the potential safety and environmental hazards of 100-car trains of oil rolling through population centers, leaders from Sacramento to San Jose say they’re banding together to present a unified voice for “up-line” cities: communities that could bear some of the highest risks as California turns toward rail shipments to quench its thirst for fuel.

      “What I suspect will come out of this is more of a regional understanding and interest in the topic,” said Mike Webb, director of community development and sustainability in Davis.

      The federal government regulates rail shipments, but the rules haven’t caught up to the surge in oil traffic on the nation’s rail network. That’s left local leaders at the forefront of pushing for changes in state and federal laws.

      Last week, the city councils of Berkeley and Richmond voted to oppose crude shipments on rail lines through their towns. The resolutions call for state lawmakers and members of Congress to seek tougher regulations.

      Several environmental groups filed a lawsuit last week against pipeline operator Kinder Morgan and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The groups said the agency quietly issued a permit to Kinder Morgan for a crude-by-rail facility in February without reviewing potential environmental and health impacts.

      “We don’t accept that as a forgone conclusion,” said Diane Bailey, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the groups in the lawsuit.

      But it may be an uphill fight. State officials anticipate that within two years, California will receive a quarter of its petroleum supply by rail. That could potentially mean several trains of crude oil passing daily through Sacramento, West Sacramento and Davis.

      The Sacramento Bee reported last week that crude oil had been transferred from trains to trucks at the former McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento since last year without the knowledge of local emergency response officials and without a required air quality permit.

      Webb said Davis’ goal is to be part of the review process to make sure the city’s concerns are heard.

      “Our primary objective and interest is in the health and safety of our community,” he said.

      A group of community activists in Benicia and Martinez has been trying to stop two oil refiners, Tesoro and Valero, from expanding their crude oil deliveries by rail. And they’re pressing local, state and federal officials to push for tougher oversight of crude oil shipments by rail following a series of derailments with catastrophic fires and spills.

      They’re focused on two types of crude oil that are moving by rail in the absence of new pipelines. First is tar sands, a thick, gritty crude that’s produced in western Canada. Tar sands production generates more carbon dioxide emissions, environmentalists say, and is more difficult to clean up when spilled in water because it’s heavy and sinks.

      The second is Bakken crude, extracted through hydraulic fracturing of shale rock. Most of the Bakken formation lies in North Dakota, and most of the oil produced there moves out of the state by rail. The oil has proved more volatile than conventional types.

      Since last summer, three major derailments have involved Bakken crude. The first, in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killed 47 people in an inferno that also leveled the center of the small lakeside town.

      Subsequent derailments in Alabama and North Dakota, though not fatal, showed that disaster could strike again.

      “People are afraid that anybody along the rail line could become the next Lac-Megantic,” said Andres Soto, a community activist in Benicia.

      Part of the frustration at the local level is the lack of information about how much crude oil is being shipped on rail lines. The companies involved in transporting and refining oil are not required to provide much information on the shipments and usually don’t.

      “There is so little oversight,” Bailey said. “This is a new area and people are scratching their heads, saying, ‘Wow, this isn’t covered.’”

      West Sacramento Fire Chief Rick Martinez, who has experience fighting oil fires, said national attention on the issue may provide a platform for cities to push for better real-time information on what materials are coming through town, so emergency responders know what to expect as they head to a call.

      “Is there way through technology to get more information to local agencies?” he asked. “We are trying to take advantage of the interest to pose the questions.”

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