Solano County hosts community meeting on oil train safety issues [Mon. 9/29. 6pm, Fairfield]

Repost from The Vallejo Times-Herald
[Editor:  Regrettably, Solano County invited Valero Benicia Refinery and Union Pacific Railroad to make panel presentations at this “Community Conversation,” but did not invite Benicia’s officially recognized grassroots opposition organization,  Benicians For a Safe and Healthy Community (BSHC) to present.  Benicia is one of seven cities in Solano County.  Language used by the County in its original announcement of this “discussion” presumed an inevitable permitting of crude by rail in our area, even as permitting is being hotly debated here.  The updated announcement is clearer, but still used the verb will rather than would: “Proposals to process crude oil delivered by rail will change the mix of materials coming into and passing through Solano County.”  Under pressure to invite an environmentalist, the County invited oil and energy analyst, author, journalist and activist Antonia Juhasz to join the panel.  Juhasz has written three books: The Bush Agenda, The Tyranny of Oil, and Black Tide.  Oddly, the County’s recently updated publicity does not mention Juhasz.  BSHC and The Benicia Independent encourage everyone to attend.
…See also the news release on the Solano County website, and a similar article in The Benicia Herald and a better one in The Vacaville Reporter.  – RS]

Solano County to host community meeting on oil train safety issues

Times-Herald staff report, 09/26/2014 

FAIRFIELD >> Solano County will host a public meeting Monday to discuss risks posed by plans to increase oil train shipments through the region.

The meeting follows concerns raised by state, regional and local government officials about plans to ship two 50-car oil trains daily from Roseville to Benicia’s Valero refinery.

The information session will be from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the County Administration Center, 675 Texas St. in Fairfield.

Last week, county officials sent a letter to Benicia asking for added measures to prevent train derailments in rural areas and protected wetlands. Also, state and Sacramento regional officials have called on the city to redo its safety analysis, saying the city has overlooked the risks of increased oil train traffic through other parts Northern California and beyond.

“The evening is about having a community conversation about our preparedness and the potential impacts from an incident along our railways,” Supervisor Linda Seifert said in a press release.

Seifert said the event format — a series of brief presentations and breakout groups — will be a facilitated discussion designed to raise awareness of the existing safety measures and identify potential gaps.

Invited speakers include representatives from the Solano County Office of Emergency Services, the Solano County Fire Chiefs Association, the Valero Benicia refinery, Union Pacific Railroad, local air quality management districts and the offices of U.S. Rep. John Garamendi and state Sen. Lois Wolk. A community perspective also will be incorporated into the lineup of speakers, county officials said.

For safe and healthy communities…