Category Archives: Local land use authority

VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD: Valero won’t sue city of Benicia over rejection of crude-by-rail project

Repost from the Vallejo Times-Herald

Valero won’t sue city of Benicia over rejection of crude-by-rail project

By Katy St. Clair, 12/22/16, 4:06 PM PST

BENICIA >> The Valero Corporation announced it will not be suing the city of Benicia for rejecting its controversial crude-by-rail project, which would have allowed the company to transport thousands of gallons of crude oil into town.

The project would have moved up to 70,000 barrels of crude a day to Benicia, passing through places like downtown Sacramento and Davis.

Valero first submitted an application for the project to the city of Benicia in December of 2012, but the Planning Commission rejected the bid in March of this year. Valero then appealed to the Benicia City Council, which also rejected the plan in a unanimous vote in September, citing fears of derailment or spills as its main concern.

“The margin of error was just too small and the risk of catastrophic failure too great,” Councilman Tom Campbell said.

In the wake of the city’s veto, Valero seemed primed to fight the decision in court. Benicia City Attorney Heather Mc Laughlin told the city council on Tuesday night that she had previously “heard word” from the Valero attorney that they were “thinking of filing suit.”

It’s been reported that Valero officials believed Benicia’s rejection of the plan was illegal.

It now appears that Valero is backing off talk of litigation. Mc Laughlin announced that Valero’s attorney contacted her and said they will not be going forward with a lawsuit, after all.

“It’s like the best Christmas present ever,” she said to the council. “Yesterday they called and said that they were not going to file suit against the city because they want to maintain positive relations with the city.”

Valero did not respond to requests for comment.

Mayor Elizabeth Patterson released a statement Wednesday saying she is “pleased” with Valero’s decision not to sue.

“They are a valuable business in our community,” she said. “I look forward to the promise of those good community relations now that we can put this ill-advised project behind us.”

Please share!

BREAKING NEWS: City of Benicia releases final Resolution to Deny Valero Crude by Rail

By Roger Straw, October 13, 2016

reso_16-160Today the City of Benicia released the final draft of the City Council’s Resolution No. 16-150, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BENICIA DENYING A USE PERMIT FOR THE VALERO CRUDE BY RAIL PROJECT AT 3400 EAST SECOND STREET (12PLN-00063)

This document represents the “wordsmithed” version created during the City Council’s October 4 meeting.  This final version has not been previously seen by the public.

At the October 4 meeting, Council members insisted on strengthening the section (now numbered 1. on page 4) that describes the Surface Transportation Board’s decision, clarifying its opinion “that the City has the police power to protect public health and safety so long as it does ‘not discriminate against rail carriers or unreasonably burden interstate commerce.'”

The Council also directed staff to make substantial changes in the format of the staff’s draft version, moving all references to rail-related impacts to a single “informational” item (now numbered 2A-2F on pages 4-6).

The heart of the revised document – findings for denial – are numbered 3-6 on pages 6-9.

NOTE: The 10-page PDF document linked above is large (4.8MB) and slow to download from the City’s website, so be patient.  A smaller unofficial version can be downloaded here or you can download the original from Google Drive here.

Please share!

San Luis Obispo victory: media roundup

In an email from Ethan Buckner…

SLO victory: media roundup

By Ethan Buckner,, 10/6/2016 2:23 PM

Sacramento Bee: California rejects another oil company’s plan to ship oil on trains

San Luis Obispo Tribune: SLO Planning Commission rejects Phillips 66 oil-by-rail proposal

KSBY News:

KCBX: SLO County Planning Commission votes to deny Phillips 66 rail spur project

Lompoc Record: SLO County Planning Commission votes down oil-by-rail proposal

CalCoast News: SLO County Planning Commission denies Phillips 66 rail spur project

Pacific Coast Business Times: Phillips 66’s crude-by-rail proposal denied

Please share!