(See also update on 9/29/17, “Six Benicia derailments in last five years – Union Pacific investigating”)
Sixth derailment in five years
On Saturday September 23, 2017, several train cars derailed in Benicia’s Industrial Park. A local eyewitness reported passing by the scene at around 11:30pm on the 23rd. He saw ten covered gray hopper cars off the tracks, and rails torn apart, showing damage for about a tenth of a mile.
By midday Sunday, the area was still closed to auto traffic. Local videographer Constance Beutel couldn’t see much, but surveyed the scene from a distance, and posted the result to YouTube.
A quick look back shows that there have been six such incidents in the Benicia Industrial Park in less than five years. *
I wrote to Beutel, indicating that we have a derailment like this on average of more than once a year. She wrote back, “Surely your data is wrong? Didn’t the Valero Crude By Rail draft EIR clearly state that a derailment, given the data, would happen once in 111 years? “
Well, not quite. The prediction was actually that there would be a crude oil release once every 111 years. But given all the catastrophic derailments and explosions during those years, everyone knew that was just an industry snow job.
Thank goodness Valero’s dirty and dangerous proposal was stopped in its tracks!
* Background on the 6 derailments in Benicia 2013-2017:
- November 5, 2013 – Train Derailment in Benicia Industrial Park
- May 17, 2014 – Two Petroleum Coke Train Cars Derail in Benicia
- September 7, 2014 – Union Pacific Investigates Benicia Derailment
- October 8, 2016 – Two derailments in Benicia Industrial Park – October 8 and 14
- September 23, 2017 (see above – this page, and later coverage here.)