Benicia Planning Commission – no more hearings for now

Repost from NBC Bay Area
[Editor:  IMPORTANT NOTICE: All speakers present were heard at the Tuesday, September 29 Planning Commission hearing, so previously scheduled additional hearings are now cancelled.  There will be no Planning Commission hearings on Sept. 30, Oct. 1 and Oct. 8.  Your comments on Valero’s Revised DEIR can be submitted in writing until October 30, 2015 – more info on sending written comments here.]

Residents Raise Concerns Over Valero’s Proposed Crude Oil By Rail Through Benicia

By Pete Suratos, September 29, 2015

A proposal to transport crude oil by rail through Benicia is not sitting well with residents, who came out in full force to a Tuesday night city planning commission meeting to discuss it.

The chances of the trains being derailed and something disastrous occurring is why residents are concerned with the proposal. Those who oppose the plan have until the end of October to let the city and Valero know their concerns.

During a special session at city hall late Tuesday, Valero pitched its crude-by-rail project to a packed house.

If approved, the refinery can receive up to 70,000 barrels of crude oil per day by rail, instead of by ship. The route would begin in Roseville and end at the refinery. In addition, the route will not replace the crude currently received through pipeline.

Valero said the use of rail is the only way to get the oil.

“The crude that we bring in by rail would offset the crude we bring from foreign sources that we bring by ship,” said Chris Howe of Valero.

The proposal, for resident Christine Caulder, is a risky proposition. Caulder attended Tuesday’s meeting and spoke as a concerned parent.

“When the air is so toxic you can’t go outside, I really can’t go to their school or I’m worried who’s sick or who’s not,” she said.

No actions on the project were taken by city leaders on Tuesday. Three more public hearings are scheduled — one on Wednesday and two more in October.  [CORRECTION: All speakers present were heard at this hearing, so previously scheduled additional hearings are now cancelled.  – RS]