Need for better coverage of BSHC in local press

[Editor: I sent the following letter to the Editor of the Benicia Herald.  It was published in the July 6 print edition.    A similar letter was sent to the Vallejo Times-Herald, but has yet to appear there.  – RS]

Why no coverage of BSHC event?

July 2, 2014, Benicia Herald Forum, p. A4

In response to the recent release of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on Valero’s proposed Crude by Rail project, three groups held public meetings on the massive document this past week.  Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community (BSHC) held an event on Saturday, June 28; Valero and the Benicia Planning Commission held events on Monday, June 30.  BSHC sent out a timely press release, announced the event in emails, and submitted it for inclusion in the Benicia Herald Community Calendar.  I am aware that your staff cannot be everywhere and cover every significant event in town.  Nevertheless, I regret that only the Valero and Planning Commission forums received prominent and detailed coverage in the July 2 edition of the Benicia Herald.

Readers might want to balance the promotional perspectives shared by Valero at its meeting, and the comments of the City’s contract attorney at the Planning Commission workshop by looking over the information on and/or  A video of parts of the June 28 BSHC workshop on how to read and comment on an EIR can be seen on YouTube at, (thanks to Constance Beutel).

An increasing number of thoughtful citizens in Benicia oppose Valero’s proposal, for good reason: the City’s health and safety are at risk; our uprail communities (Davis, Sacramento, etc.) do not want Valero’s trains putting their health and safety at risk; and California, the U.S., Canada – and the earth – cannot handle more dirty and explosive crude oil when clean energy is our chosen future and legislated mandate.  To remain truly competitive into the future, Valero should invest in a plan for an immediate transition away from fossil fuels.

Roger Straw
Member of the Steering Committee
Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community

(Note: Here are links for Benicia Herald coverage of the Valero forum and Planning Commission forum.)