Category Archives: Richmond CA

Environmentalists jeer as Calif. judge throws out lawsuit against oil company’s rail facility

Repost from Reuters

Environmentalists jeer as Calif. judge throws out lawsuit against oil company’s rail facility

By Rory Carroll and Jennifer Chaussee, Reuters, September 5, 2014

Kinder Morgan [Facebook page]SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A San Francisco Superior Court judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit brought by environmental groups against Kinder Morgan’s Richmond, California, rail terminal, which quietly began unloading crude oil from trains this year, saying the plaintiffs waited too long to file their complaint.

The groups argued that since the company was given permission from regulators to begin accepting the deliveries without public notice, they were not immediately aware of the change.

Judge Peter Busch acknowledged there were “deep concerns” about the new cargo, which passes through the densely populated city of Richmond, but said the plaintiffs missed the 180-day window to request that the permit be revoked.

Suma Peesapati, an attorney for the environmental groups that brought the suit, said the company and regulators knowingly deceived the public.

“This is just how the agencies and industry win – hide the information, make the change under the cover of night, and hope people don’t notice while the clock winds down on any hope to stop these dangerous and callous developments,” she said.

Kinder Morgan and the regulator, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, said they followed the law as written and denied doing anything in secret. California law does not require public notification or an environmental review for the permit, which was issued in February.

Friday’s ruling was met with hisses from environmentalists who attended the hearing, some of whom participated in a protest the previous day where they chained themselves to a fence at the facility.

The Kinder Morgan terminal is the most substantial oil-by-rail facility in the state, handling up to 72,000 barrels per day. The crude is unloaded from incoming trains and placed on trucks bound for a Tesoro-owned refinery in Martinez.

The number of trains ferrying crude oil by rail to California from Canada and North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation has jumped dramatically in recent years, prompting safety and environmental concerns.

In July 2013, a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in a town in the Canadian province of Quebec, killing 47 people.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll and Jennifer Chaussee; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Ken Wills)

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    Video: Lockdown at Kinder Morgan

    Repost video from Vimeo

    Blockade the Bomb Trains! Lockdown at Kinder Morgan 4 Sept 2014

    from Peter Menchini, September 5, 2014
    Do bomb trains run through your neighborhood?  Oil companies are illegally shipping highly toxic and explosive tar sands oil through residential areas, and try to keep them secret.  On September 4th, 2014, activists entered Kinder Morgan rail yard in Richmond, CA and blocked the trains.  The city’s mayor came and spoke to them.

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      KPIX: Protesters Against Fracked Oil Deliveries Chain Themselves At Richmond Yard

      Repost from CBS SF Bay Area, 5KPIX
      [Editor: See this story also on Popular Resistance, the Richmond Standard, the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Sacramento Bee.  – RS]

      Protesters Against Fracked Oil Deliveries Chain Themselves At Richmond Yard

      By Christin Ayers, September 5, 2014

      RICHMOND (KPIX 5) — A dramatic showdown at a rail yard in Richmond on Thursday as protesters locked themselves to a gate to disrupt operations at the facility.

      The yard is the only one in California that is bringing in 100-car trains full of potentially explosive fracked crude oil. Earlier this year, KPIX 5 was the first to uncover the operation.

      A group of protesters chained themselves by the neck with bicycle locks to the gates of the Kinder Morgan rail terminal in Richmond.

      “We are here to stop Kinder Morgan’s illegal activity here in Richmond, said Evan Buckner.

      Their goal: To block tanker trucks from carrying explosive crude oil through their communities. It’s the same kind of shale oil from North Dakota that has caused deadly explosions in derailments in Canada and across the country.

      “I will do everything I can to prevent that from happening,” said Katy Polony.

      KPIX 5 discovered back in March that trains a hundred cars long are delivering the volatile loads to the rail yard every month, where it’s transferred onto trucks and driven to local refineries.

      But nobody knew the trains were coming in because the operation never had to go through any kind of environmental review.

      “They were granted a permit to bring in oil into this facility by the air district without any public process,” said Buckner, who belongs to an environmental group called ForestEthics.

      Even Richmond’s Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said she was kept in the dark. “We hadn’t been aware of it in Richmond, but I am very grateful to Channel 5 for bringing this forward,” she said.

      McLaughlin came by to show her support. “This has been a big issue in Richmond. I brought a resolution to the city council stating that we need to do whatever we can to stop these trucks from rolling on our streets,” the mayor said.

      Police showed up in force, but did not move to make any arrests.

      For three hours, the protesters blocked tanker trucks from leaving, then finally unchained themselves and left peacefully.

      Because of our reporting, the environmental group Earth Justice has filed a lawsuit against Kinder Morgan and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to try to force an environmental review. Kinder Morgan and the air district would like to see the suit dismissed. The first hearing in that case is Friday.

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