Tag Archives: Solano County Office of Emergency Services

Rep. Garamendi and area leaders call for safer crude-by-rail transport

Repost from The Benicia Herald
[Editor:  Significant quote: “Garamendi has introduced House Bill 1679 that would prohibit the transport of North Dakota Bakken crude by train unless it has a maximum Reid vapor pressure (RVP) of 9.5 psi.”  – RS]

Rep. Garamendi to call for safer crude-by-rail transport

By Donna Beth Weilenman, April 7, 2015

U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, will join industry leaders in Davis on Wednesday in calling for the U.S. Department of Transportation to make rail delivery of crude oil safer.

“Crude oil is or has until very recently been transported by rail through several cities in Congressman Garamendi’s 3rd Congressional District, including Davis, Dixon, Fairfield, Suisun City and Marysville,” said his media specialists, Donald Lathbury and Matthew Kravitz, in a joint statement on the news conference.

“These routes are very close to residential communities, schools, parks, and businesses.”

Among those joining Garamendi will be Sarah Feinberg, acting administrator for the Federal Railroad Administration, and Paul W. King, deputy director of the Office of Rail Safety at the Safety and Enforcement Division of the California Public Utilities Commission.

Municipal and other leaders also are expected to attend, including Davis Mayor Dan Wolk, Marysville Mayor Ricky Samayoa, Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor and Solano County Supervisor Skip Thomson.

Also expected to attend are Terry Bassett, Yolo County Transportation District executive director; Dana Carey, Yolo County office of Emergency Services manager; and Terry Schmidtbauer, assistant director of Resource Management in the Solano County Office of Emergency Services.

Garamendi has introduced House Bill 1679 that would prohibit the transport of North Dakota Bakken crude by train unless it has a maximum Reid vapor pressure (RVP) of 9.5 psi.

He said this is the maximum volatility permitted by the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) for crude oil futures contracts.

By comparison, he said, a recent literature review by Sandia Labs indicates that the North Dakota Petroleum Council’s study of 152 Bakken crude samples found an average RVP of 11.7 psi and a max of 14.4 psi. A rule going into effect in North Dakota this month sets the limit at 13.7 psi.

Garamendi and Congresswoman Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, sent a letter March 3 to the Department of Transportation in which they suggested strengthening safety improvements and asked DOT to drop any plans for weakening regulations.

Instead, they called for stronger safety standards for crude-by-rail transportation.

“Families living near oil-by-rail shipping lines are rightfully concerned about the safety of the trains that pass through their communities,” Garamendi said. “For that reason, I have repeatedly called on the Department of Transportation to use all the tools at their disposal to ensure that these shipments are as safe and secure as possible.

“Every day that strong and effective rules are delayed is another day that millions of Americans, including many in my district, are put at greater risk.”

Garamendi’s announcement will be made at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday next to the Davis Train Depot, near the corner of Second and H streets, Davis.

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    Solano County hosts community meeting on oil train safety issues [Mon. 9/29. 6pm, Fairfield]

    Repost from The Vallejo Times-Herald
    [Editor:  Regrettably, Solano County invited Valero Benicia Refinery and Union Pacific Railroad to make panel presentations at this “Community Conversation,” but did not invite Benicia’s officially recognized grassroots opposition organization,  Benicians For a Safe and Healthy Community (BSHC) to present.  Benicia is one of seven cities in Solano County.  Language used by the County in its original announcement of this “discussion” presumed an inevitable permitting of crude by rail in our area, even as permitting is being hotly debated here.  The updated announcement is clearer, but still used the verb will rather than would: “Proposals to process crude oil delivered by rail will change the mix of materials coming into and passing through Solano County.”  Under pressure to invite an environmentalist, the County invited oil and energy analyst, author, journalist and activist Antonia Juhasz to join the panel.  Juhasz has written three books: The Bush Agenda, The Tyranny of Oil, and Black Tide.  Oddly, the County’s recently updated publicity does not mention Juhasz.  BSHC and The Benicia Independent encourage everyone to attend.
    …See also the news release on the Solano County website, and a similar article in The Benicia Herald and a better one in The Vacaville Reporter.  – RS]

    Solano County to host community meeting on oil train safety issues

    Times-Herald staff report, 09/26/2014 

    FAIRFIELD >> Solano County will host a public meeting Monday to discuss risks posed by plans to increase oil train shipments through the region.

    The meeting follows concerns raised by state, regional and local government officials about plans to ship two 50-car oil trains daily from Roseville to Benicia’s Valero refinery.

    The information session will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the County Administration Center, 675 Texas St. in Fairfield.

    Last week, county officials sent a letter to Benicia asking for added measures to prevent train derailments in rural areas and protected wetlands. Also, state and Sacramento regional officials have called on the city to redo its safety analysis, saying the city has overlooked the risks of increased oil train traffic through other parts Northern California and beyond.

    “The evening is about having a community conversation about our preparedness and the potential impacts from an incident along our railways,” Supervisor Linda Seifert said in a press release.

    Seifert said the event format — a series of brief presentations and breakout groups — will be a facilitated discussion designed to raise awareness of the existing safety measures and identify potential gaps.

    Invited speakers include representatives from the Solano County Office of Emergency Services, the Solano County Fire Chiefs Association, the Valero Benicia refinery, Union Pacific Railroad, local air quality management districts and the offices of U.S. Rep. John Garamendi and state Sen. Lois Wolk. A community perspective also will be incorporated into the lineup of speakers, county officials said.

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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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