Category Archives: Crude By Rail

Phillips 66 Declines to Challenge Oil Train Denial – still may sue the County

Repost from the Santa Barbara Independent

Phillips 66 Declines to Challenge Oil Train Denial

By Jean Yamamura, April 27, 2017
The Phillips 66 refinery on the Nipomo Mesa.
The Phillips 66 refinery on the Nipomo Mesa. | Joe Johnston, The Tribune, San Luis Obispo

Phillips 66 oil train opponents cheered when the oil company missed the deadline to file opposition to the project denial by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, but a lawsuit in Superior Court lingers.

Phillips had until 4/16 to oppose S.L.O.’s rejection to California’s Coastal Commission, whose staff, however, had written in support of the project denial.

S.L.O. Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera had already told Phillips it needed to exhaust its administrative remedies before suing the county in court — the Coastal Commission being such an administrative body — so it remains to be seen whether the lawsuit, based on a lack of timeliness by the county in finding environmentally sensitive habitat on the project grounds, will go forward.

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50 Programs Scrapped at the Environmental Protection Agency

Repost from the San Francisco Chronicle  (This article is a feature of an important SF Chron investigative piece: “Trump Gains, Science Loses.”)

50 PROGRAMS SCRAPPED AT THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

Bayfront Park in Menlo Park is home to the South Bay Salt Pond restoration project, which is to convert 15,100 acres of salt ponds to tidal wetlands and other habitats. Michael Macor / The Chronicle

President Trump proposes a $54 billion increase in military spending, offset by slashing domestic programs. The Environmental Protection Agency would take the biggest hit, a 31 percent cut that would eliminate a quarter of the staff and save $2.6 billion, returning the agency’s budget to 1970s-era levels. Congress dictates spending, however, and some cuts face bipartisan pushback. The agency has begun offering buyouts to workers.

Here is a sample of programs that would be eliminated:

Online resources: Read more at http://bit.ly/2oDjijc

Climate science at other agencies

Trump’s budget request would terminate four key Earth science missions at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration:

    • PACE, an ocean monitoring program.
    • Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3, a satellite under development to study distribution of carbon dioxide on Earth.
    • The Deep Space Climate Observatory
    • The CLARREO Pathfinder that measures heat in the atmosphere.

Note: Trump’s plan would also zero out $250 million in programs at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration that support coastal and marine management and research, including the Sea Grants program.

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FAIRFIELD DAILY REPUBLIC: Top 10 Stories of 2016: Benicia derails Valero’s oil-transport plan

Repost from the Fairfield Daily Republic

Top 10 Stories of 2016: Benicia derails Valero’s oil-transport plan

By Daily Republic staff From page A1 | January 01, 2017
Tank cars sit on the railroad tracks, near Cordelia Road and Chadbourne Road on January 1, 2016. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic file)
Tank cars sit on the railroad tracks, near Cordelia Road and Chadbourne Road on January 1, 2016. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic file)

BENICIA — City Hall reverberated from the cheers when the City Council in September voted unanimously to turn down a Valero plan that would have allowed up to 70,000 barrels of crude oil to be shipped by rail to its refinery.

It is a topic that also made the Daily Republic’s top stories list in 2015.

Valero receives its crude oil by ship, and wanted to employ the less expensive rail option.

What ultimately became a simple land-use decision for the council, turned Benicia into one of the latest battlegrounds on the environmental and urban safety debate over transporting crude oil by rail.

Proponents noted the advances in railcar safety and emergency service preparedness, while opponents pointed to all the disasters – many deadly – that have occurred, some during the local debate.

Valero had applied for a permit to add additional rail, pipeline and to make other changes to its off-loading capabilities at the refinery, a request denied by the city Planning Commission in February. A series of public hearings were held before the City Council, but a decision was delayed while Valero took its case to the federal Surface Transportation Board, arguing the city lacked authority to make the decision.

The agency, just hours prior to the council’s decision, ruled that the city was not addressing a transportation issue, which would have triggered the long-held rail pre-emption laws, but rather was addressing the permit application only.

Valero, which represents about 25 percent of all local city tax revenue, has not indicated what its next move might be.

The Valero oil refinery operates, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, in Benicia.(Daily Republic file)

 

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