Category Archives: Benicia CA

Benicia Herald and Vallejo Times-Herald on release of Valero DEIR

[Editor: The local news media posted early announcements about the release of Valero’s Draft EIR.  See Benicia Herald and Vallejo Times-Herald stories below.  – RS]

From the Benicia Herald

DEIR for Valero project: ‘Significant’ impact to air quality

According to a summary provided by the city of Benicia for the just-released Draft Environmental Impact Report on the proposed Valero Crude-by-Rail project, “there would be a significant and unavoidable impact associated with air quality.” However, “The impacts associated with all other environmental issues would be reduced to below a level of significance with the incorporation of mitigation measures.”

The report can be downloaded by clicking here.

Stay tuned for a full report.

From the Vallejo Times-Herald

Benicia: Valero crude-by-rail draft environmental impact report released

Project would allow refinery to bring in 70,000 barrels per day by train

By Tony Burchyns  |  Posted:   06/17/2014 11:57:15 AM PDT

BENICIA>> City officials on Tuesday released the draft environmental impact report for the Benicia Valero Refinery’s proposed crude oil rail terminal.

If approved, the proposed project would allow the refinery to bring two 50-tanker car trains of crude oil in and out of Benicia every day, replacing crude shipments by boat.

Valero has said the project is necessary to remain competitive on the West Coast. Opponents, however, have raised concerns about the type of crude that could be coming in those tanker cars, such as highly flammable oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, or Canadian tars sands oil, regarded as more polluting than other crude.

The project would involve the installation of a rail car unloading rack, rail track spurs, pumps, pipeline and associated infrastructure at the refinery at 3400 East Second St. It would allow Valero to receive up to 70,000 barrels per day of crude oil by train.

Union Pacific Railroad would transport the North American-sourced crude using existing rail lines to Roseville, where the tanker cars would be assembled into train shipments to the refinery, according to city planners.

The draft environmental impact report will be circulated for a 45-day public comment period ending on Aug. 1, city officials said.

The Planning Commission is set to hold a public hearing to take comments on the report on July 10. There will be no final action taken at the meeting.

The report may be viewed at the Benicia Public Library, 150 East L St., the Community Development Department at City Hall, 250 East L St., or online at

The proposed project would allow the refinery at 3400 East Second St. to receive up to 70,000 barrels per day of crude oil by rail.

    Valero Draft EIR now available for download


    Valero Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) now available for download

    June 17, 2014, 8:30am

    The City of Benicia posted the downloadable version of the Valero Crude By Rail Draft EIR this morning.  The print and digital copies will be made available at the Benicia Planning Department later in the day.

    The DEIR can also be downloaded here on The Benicia Independent.

      Martinez to Benicia: Oil Refinery Protest Draws About 100 Demonstrators

      Repost from the East Bay Express
      [Editor: Many thanks to the East Bay Express for excellent coverage of this colorful and important event (below).  Benicia old timers were heard to say that sleepy little Benicia has probably NEVER seen a protest demonstration like this.  Check out two facebook pages for great photos of the day: AND  – RS]

      East Bay Oil Refinery Protest Draws About 100 Demonstrators

      Jean Tepperman —  Mon, May 19, 2014

      Accompanied by a four-kayak flotilla and a fifth-generation Martinez resident on horseback, about one hundred environmental activists marched seven miles from Martinez to Benicia on Saturday to protest the local toxic pollution and global climate impact of Bay Area oil refineries. The march was spearheaded by a Bay Area group affiliated with Idle No More, an organization of Canadian First Nations people fighting development of the tar sands oil fields in Alberta and other environmentally destructive projects on their traditional lands.


      Kelly Johnson

      Specific targets of the protest were proposed expansion projects at the Chevron (Richmond), Valero (Benicia), and Phillips 66 (Rodeo) refineries, a crude oil transportation terminal in Pittsburg planned by energy infrastructure company WesPac, and the major investment of Shell (Martinez) in the Canadian tar sands mines. The Saturday march was the second of four planned Refinery Corridor Healing Walks — the first, from Pittsburg to Martinez, was held in April, and future walks are planned for June and July, ending up at Chevron in Richmond. The series of walks aims to “connect the dots” to “bring awareness to the refinery communities, invite community members to get to know one another, and to show support for a just transition beyond fossil fuels,” according to the group’s website.

      At a gathering at the Martinez Regional Shoreline before the march, a winner of this year’s Goldman environmental prize, South African Desmond D’Sa, described the high rates of leukemia, cancer, and asthma in his home town of Durban and the community’s struggles against Shell Oil there, urging the crowd to “fight them (refineries) wherever they are.” Penny Opal Plant, of the East Bay Idle No More group, said she only recently began to conceive of the refinery corridor as a total area suffering from the “immense devastation” caused by oil refineries.

      Richmond residents have long protested pollution from Chevron, most recently the toxic explosion that sent 15,000 seeking medical treatment in August 2012. Benicia residents have also organized to oppose environmental hazards. In the last year, local groups have also formed in Pittsburg, Crockett-Rodeo, and Martinez to protest refinery expansion and transportation plans, including major increases in the amount of crude oil to be carried by rail through the Bay Area and beyond.

      Describing the dangers of mining, refining, and transporting oil, and looking ahead to a future free from fossil fuel, Opal Plant said, “We are Mother Earth’s immune response awakening. We’re born at this time to do this thing.”


      Kelly Johnson

      The group’s route first went through the Shell refinery, then over the bridge to Benicia, with a view of the Valero refinery there. From a hilltop vista point next to Carquinez Strait, Benicia activist Marilyn Bardet pointed out refineries and planned oil industry project sites, as well as the environmentally Suisun Marsh. Railroad tracks leading to the Valero refinery, she said, go right through the marsh. A spill of tar sands crude oil, she added, would be impossible to clean up because the oil is so heavy it would sink and cause irreparable damage.

      The next Refinery Corridor Healing walk is scheduled to go from Benicia to the Phillips 66 refinery in Rodeo on June 14.

        For safe and healthy communities…