Repost from The Vallejo Times-Herald, Letters
Why the rush on crude?By Kathy Kerridge, Vallejo Times-Herald, 07/08/2014
The Benicia Planning commission will take public comments tonight at City Hall on the Draft Environmental Impact Report for Valero’s Crude by Rail project. Written comments are due by Aug. 1. This project would bring 100 rail cars a day over the Donner Pass or through the Feather River Canyon, over rivers, through Truckee, Roseville, Sacramento, Davis, Dixon, Fairfield, the Suisun Marsh and into Benicia.
These trains could be carrying the same Bakken Crude that exploded in Canada, killing 47 people and Canadian Tar Sands, which have proved impossible to clean up when it has spilled in waterways. Some have claimed this is safe. Everyone should be aware that the National Transportation Safety Board in January said that trains carrying crude oil should “where technically feasible require rerouting to avoid transportation of such hazardous materials through populated and other sensitive areas.” At this point in time it is feasible to keep these dangerous materials from going through populated areas by not approving the project. Otherwise it will not be feasible.
The new railcars that Valero says it will use are the same ones that ruptured and spilled April 30, 2014 in Lynchburg, Virginia, threatening Richmond’s water supply. The Department of Transportation is in the process of crafting new rules for rail cars carrying crude, but there is no time line for when they will be issued and it will be some time before any new cars are available. There have been two train derailments in Benicia’s Industrial Park in recent months.
Why the rush? Is Valero running out of crude oil? No. The reason Valero wants to bring in this dangerous crude, in rail cars that split and rupture in a derailment, is that this crude oil is on sale right now. The oil isn’t going anywhere. It isn’t safe to transport through populated areas and all of the communities that this crude goes through will be at risk.