Category Archives: Benicia CA

Oil Train Blast Zones – Interactive map by ForestEthics

Repost from ForestEthics
[Editor: ForestEthics has published an interactive map showing blast zones across the U.S., searchable by zip code or city.  It may be a bit too ambitious in scope.  For instance, details are missing in Northern California and Benicia.  Still, it serves as a visual warning to all who live near the tracks as Big Oil and the railroad industry gear up for crude by rail.  Check it out, and sign their petition while you are there.  – RS]


When oil trains derail we all pay the price. How close are you and your family to a disaster waiting to happen? Use the ForestEthics blast zone map to find out and take action.


Millions of Americans live in the blast zone. Do you?

Every day the oil industry sends millions of gallons of highly flammable crude oil through cities and towns across North America. Our rail system was never built for this dangerous cargo.

It’s time to take action! Sign the petition: Tell the President and Congress to stop the threat of oil train disasters today!

To: US President Obama and Congress

It seems each month another town is facing a terrifying oil train derailment, poisoned drinking water, or a deadly explosion. Our rail system takes these trains through population centers by schools and homes. Safety standards are weak and our emergency responders are not equipped for accidents.

We are not prepared for this threat:

  1. Oil trains are more than a mile-long with 100+ cars, concentrating the risk of an accident that could ignite the three million gallons of crude on a single train.
  2. Oil train traffic has increased more than 4,000 percent in the last five years.
  3. Rail routes run right through major urban areas and cross water supplies. The US rail system was not designed to transport dangerous crude oil.
  4. Dangerous DOT-111 cars, which make up the majority of US oil tanker trains, have serious flaws that make them highly prone to puncture during a derailment.

We have the solution:

  • The first step: Ban unsafe oil tanker cars.
  • We must prepare and equip emergency responders and reroute trains around population centers and away from water supplies.
  • New rail safety rules must be strong and must give citizens the information they need to protect themselves and the power to say no.

We do not need the extreme oil transported by these trains. The crude oil carried by train is more explosive and more toxic than conventional crude oil; it is also more carbon intensive. At a time when our oil use is decreasing and the threat of climate disruption is growing, the risk from oil trains is unacceptable.

Learn More


    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.


        For safe and healthy communities…