Only two weeks (no, one week!) left to voice your opposition to Valero Crude By Rail

October 16, 2016

Send a letter of opposition today!

Below are just a few of the reasons you can cite in your letter to the City.  These points came from a handout by Benicians For a Safe and Healthy Community.  Here are two other letter guides: Center for Biological Diversity and ForestEthics.  Send your email to : or send to  Amy Million, Principal Planner, City of Benicia, 250 East L Street, Benicia, CA 94510.

• Tank car design is inadequate, with extremely poor safety records – BOTH DOT-111 AND the “safer” CPC-1232 cars are not safe and have derailed and exploded in other communities.  The  federal government can’t agree on a safe car and its years away from being implemented.
• New Federal Department of Transportation Rules (May, 2015) are inadequate and do not move quickly enough.
• Derailed oil trains that explode cannot be extinguished and so are left to burn themselves out which takes several days.  Emergency response plans are non-existent for a catastrophic derailment and explosion.
• The RDEIR proposes three dangerous routes: a) through the Sierras, the Feather River route – note the recent corn car derailment with resulting spill in the Feather River, b) the Dunsmuir route with the historic spill into the River and c) the Truckee / Donner Lake route with its treacherous mountain grades and beautiful resort areas.  All 3 routes go through areas described by the state as high hazard areas for derailments.  What are the risks of fires in our mountains and spills into all of the waterways the trains pass over?
• We question the statistics on the possible rates of derailments and train explosions.
• High hazard flammable trains will be going through highly populated areas like Davis and Sacramento when the National Transportation Safety Board says they should be rerouted whenever possible away from populated areas.
• Union Pacific can run trains any time they want to and even send in two train shipments in one day.  Neither the City of Benicia nor Valero have control over routes, cars, and shipment times.  Note statements about “federal pre-emption” in the appendices.
• What are the economic risks if there was a derailment and explosion and the refinery was to catch on fire?  Valero’s tank farm is in the blast zone.
• The Draft Revised EIR says there are significant hazards to the public through a reasonably foreseeable accident.  Why would we tolerate this?
• What are the environmental impacts when such extreme methods to get the oil, such as fracking and basically strip mining for tar sands are used to get the oil that is coming by rail?

• There’s lots more – add your own concerns – speak from the heart and with conviction!

Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community
(707) 742-3597

Opposed to Crude by Rail and/or critical of the EIR

• Over 1300 who signed the petition (mostly Benicians)
• Benicians For a Safe and Healthy Community ( and on Facebook at StopCrudeByRail)
• Hundreds of Benicians and others who wrote letters calling into question the claims of the Environmental Impact Report
• California’s Attorney General
• The Sacramento Area Council of Governments
• The City of Davis, California
• Natural Resources Defense Council
• Sierra Club
• ForestEthics
• Center for Biological Diversity
• EarthJustice
• Sunflower Alliance
• Communities for a Better Environment
• Bay Area Refinery Corridor Coalition (BARCC)
• Crocket Rodeo United to Defend the Environment (C.R.U.D.E.)
• Idle No More – Bay Area
• Martinez Environmental Group
• 350 Bay Area
• Global Community Monitor
• … and many more

More information:

Take Action (including more info on letter-writing)
Project Documents (Valero’s proposal)
Project Review (letters on the EIR submitted by agencies and individuals)
Local Media Coverage (letters to the news media)






We have moved into the final phase of the City of Benicia’s comment period.  Your voice is important as the Planning Commission