Tag Archives: Regional regulation

Chevron fined for air pollution at Richmond refinery

Repost from SFGate

Chevron fined for air pollution at Richmond refinery

By Kurtis Alexander, August 11, 2015 2:42 pm

Chevron has agreed to pay $146,000 in fines for spewing pollutants into the air at its refinery in Richmond, air quality regulators said Tuesday.

The penalty stems from 22 citations from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District mostly for discharging unhealthy levels of hydrogen sulfide and other harmful compounds through flaring, the process of burning off excess gas, common at industrial sites.

The refinery was also cited for excess carbon monoxide coming out of its furnace.

“Even though the incidents were minor and did not result in any significant impacts to people or the environment, we take these matters seriously, and have taken preventative measures to avoid similar situations from occurring in the future,” said Leah Casey, a spokeswoman for Chevron Corp., in an e-mail to The Chronicle.

The notices of violation were sent to Chevron between 2012 and 2014. The fines will support the air district’s enforcement work.

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    Author of the 9/11 Rail provisions: Rail security requires local oversight of Bakken trains

    Repost from Government Security News

    Rail security requires local oversight of Bakken crude shipments

    By Denise Rucker Krepp, 2014-09-09

    The District of Columbia Council uncovered a serious homeland security flaw this week that should raise red flags for mayors and town managers around the country. In the nation’s capitol, local transportation officials aren’t conducting oversight over CSX and the goods it transports through the city. Similarly, officials are unfamiliar with the rail carrier’s security policies. DC transportation officials, as traditionally classified by the federal government, aren’t rail stakeholders with a need to know this information.

    Rail stakeholders, as defined by the Transportation Security Administration, are class 1 freight railroads (CSX, Norfolk Southern), Amtrak, and regional and short line railroads. Members of these companies advise TSA on rail security matters and TSA provides them with security information. This relationship is further solidified in TSA’s strategic plan. The exclusive club does not include first responders nor local representatives from the communities through which the rail carriers transport goods.

    By not including cities and towns as part of their stakeholder group, TSA has weakened the nation’s rail security system. Mayors and town managers control the first responder assets that will be used when the next Lac Megantic or Lynchburg occurs. TSA, however, as DC transportation officials told the DC Council this week, doesn’t require local officials to review rail security plans covering their jurisdiction. Absent a comprehensive review, they won’t know if their assets are sufficient to respond to a significant accident.

    TSA’s definition of rail stakeholder was upended this summer when Secretary of Transportation Foxx mandated that rail carriers share information regarding Bakken crude with local officials.  For the first time, a federal department broadened the definition to include first responders and emergency managers. The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act included information sharing requirements but TSA never followed through with them.

    The lack of knowledge is problematic because local officials approve rail permits for projects like the proposed Virginia Avenue Tunnel project in DC. These officials however, have not include homeland security threat information in their permit analysis. They couldn’t. Local officials didn’t have this information before Secretary Foxx’s order. Thankfully, his order will increase the flow of information to local officials and will enable them to finally complete a more thorough analysis before making critical permitting decisions.

    It’s my hope that Secretary Foxx’s order will be formalized by the Department of Homeland Security. DHS indicated in its Spring 2014 unified regulatory agenda, that TSA will be drafting regulations concerning rail security plans and other measures outlined in the 9/11 Act. These regulations will firmly establish the federal government’s expectations and one of these should be the inclusion of state and local officials in the decision making process.

    Denise Rucker Krepp is an attorney, transportation and energy consultant, former special counsel to DOT and the U.S. Congress, and author of the 9/11 Rail provisions.
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      Solano County to hold “Rail Safety Discussion” on Mon., Sept. 29, 6pm

      Repost from SolanoCounty.com News Details
      [Editor: this event has been referred to alternately as a “discussion”  a “forum,” an “information session,” a “public meeting,” and a “community conversation,”   Very little has been published to indicate that the County is eager to hear from the public at this meeting.  Nonetheless, governmental meetings always provide an opportunity for the public to be heard.  If you go, plan to learn something from emergency professionals, government officials and staff … and to offer your own sage advice on the best way to contain catastrophic emergencies….  – RS]

      Rail safety discussion planned for Sept. 29

      September 8, 2014

      SOLANO COUNTY – How can emergency responders increase their capabilities to respond to potential incidents that could happen along the 73 miles of railway that cross Solano County?

      That is the question to be discussed at an information session from
      6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29, in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the County Administration Center, 675 Texas St. in Fairfield
      .

      “As we prepare for and anticipate the transportation of crude oil through our county, a community conversation about our preparedness and the potential impact from an incident is essential,” said Supervisor Linda Seifert.

      The meeting’s objective will be to raise awareness of the existing safety measures already in place throughout the county and to identify potential gaps and mitigations based on potential changes in rail traffic.

      Invited speakers include representatives from Valero, Union Pacific Railroad, Solano County Office of Emergency Services, the Solano County Fire Chiefs Association, and local air quality management districts. Congressman John Garamendi and state Senator Lois Wolk have also been invited to participate.

      County officials said the timing of the event was two-fold. September is National Emergency Preparedness Month. In addition, the City of Benicia is considering an application that would allow Valero to receive and process crude oil delivered by rail.

      “We know emergency responders from across the county, including the Hazardous Materials Response Team, are prepared for a wide array of potential incidents. Proposals to process crude oil delivered by rail will change the mix of materials coming into and passing through Solano County. It is only prudent for us to explore how to increase our capability to handle the risks associated with these changes,” Supervisor Seifert said.

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