Tag Archives: Benicia-Martinez rail bridge

BENICIA HERALD LETTER: Allowing crude by rail is asking for trouble, Kathy Kerridge

Repost from the Benicia Herald
[Editor:  No link is provided for this letter because the Benicia Herald does not publish letters in its online edition.  A version of this letter also appeared in the Contra Costa Times.  – RS]

Allowing crude by rail is asking for trouble

By Kathy Kerridge, August 16, 2015, Benicia Herald

It’s time for Benicia and California to say no to bringing in crude oil by rail (CBR). This is the highly explosive and flammable Bakken crude from North Dakota, which exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing 47.  This is what Valero wants to bring into Benicia and other refineries want to bring into the Bay Area.  There have been 30 major crude by rail accidents since 2012, including the latest on July 17 in Montana that spilled 35,000 gallons from a train that was going the legal speed limit.

The refineries also want to bring in tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada.  A spill of tar sands crude in water cannot be cleaned up.  The substances that dilute the tar sands (like benzene) so it can be transported evaporate and the tar sands sink to the bottom of the water.  $1 billion, yes that’s right billion, has been spent on the Kalamazoo River spill of tar sands and the river is still not clean.  Do we want a spill on the Benicia Rail Bridge into the Carquinez Strait or one in the Suisun Marsh?  How about the Feather River Canyon where a train carrying corn recently derailed sending its cargo into the river?

Say no to CRB going over high hazard areas.  Every rail line into the state goes through one.  Say no to CBR by earthquake faults.   Say no to trains carrying crude in cars designed to carry corn syrup.  Say no to the new cars which have also split and spilled in recent derailments.  Say no to bomb trains going through densely populated areas like Sacramento, Davis, and the East Bay.  Just say no to putting people, our water sources and our environment at risk

Arrests in Martinez as Californians demonstrate against oil trains

Repost from Bay Area Indymedia
[This belated report has nothing new on the arrests on our bridge, but it shows some good pics of the Stop Oil Trains protest in San Jose.  – RS]

Arrests in Martinez as Californians demonstrate against oil trains

By R. Robertson , Jul 14th, 2015 6:22 PM
Police arrested four Bay Area protesters after they suspended themselves from the Benicia-Martinez railroad bridge to hang a banner protesting oil trains. Photos here are of the protest in San Jose, California. Both protests were part of a week of action against oil trains.
Police arrested four Bay Area protesters after they suspended themselves from the Benicia-Martinez railroad bridge to hang a banner protesting oil trains last week.
800_350sanjosebeststn.jpg original image ( 3264x2448)

Elsewhere in California, Raging Grannies in Davis and San Jose enlivened protests there singing out, ”No more exploding trains”.

Oil trains go through almost every US state, disproportionately over poorer American communities. The crude oil moving by train is more toxic, explosive, and carbon intensive than conventional oil. It puts millions of Americans and Canadians at risk. Last week there were more than 80 protests and educational events in North America about this danger.

The Lac-Mégantic rail disaster happened July 6, 2013, when a freight train carrying Bakken formation crude oil rolled downhill and derailed, resulting in the fire and explosion of multiple tank cars. Forty-seven people died and many others injured. Last week’s events were timed to coincide with the anniversary of that catastrophe.


News from our friend Ethan Buckner, arrested for bold action on Benicia-Martinez Bridge

Repost from Facebook ethan.buckner
[Editor:  See also the news account: Four arrested after midair oil-train protest at Benicia Bridge.  – RS]

By Ethan Buckner, July 7 at 2:43pm

Finally released and safe at home after 24 hours in custody (20 without food or water) at the Contra Costa Jail.

Yesterday morning, the courageous Emily Heffling and I repelled off the George Miller Bridge, 150 ft over the beautiful Carquinez Strait. The two of us, along with Charlie and Jay, were arrested attempting to hang a 2400 sq-foot banner to amplify the struggle of communities across North America fighting toxic, dangerous, and climate-killing oil trains.

Our banner hang attempt fell on the two year anniversary of the oil train explosion that killed 47 people and incinerated the downtown of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, a date that both marks unfathomable tragedy and the emergence of resistance.  This week, 80+ communities are organizing marches, rallies, forums, blockades, and other creative protests for the second Stop Oil Trains Week of Action.

Right behind us as we repelled down was a rail bridge along a route big oil companies want to use to import millions of gallons of toxic, explosive crude oil each day into the Bay Area and beyond, mostly through communities of color already overburdened by toxic pollution. As part of the week of action, we’ll take to the streets in Richmond this Saturday to demand an end to oil by rail and the emergence of a just, clean, regenerative energy economy.

Though I am absolutely disappointed that we weren’t able to fully deploy the banner, I am grateful for and recurringly inspired by the love, energy, and strength of our movement. Many thanks to all who contributed to this effort, who continue to fight for our health, safety, and climate every day, and to everyone who rallied all night last night and this morning to help the four of us get out of jail.

There is so much to learn from yesterday’s events, and much yet to come, but the bottom line is that I am riding the crest of the wave of our movement, and we will continue to grow and fight and win.


Protesters against oil trains detained at Benicia-Martinez rail bridge

Repost from KRON4 TV, San Francisco CA
[Editor:  Also, see the organizations’ Press Release and a later report with names of those arrested.  – RS]

Protesters against oil trains detained at Benicia-Martinez rail bridge

By Sharon Song, July 6, 2015, 1:51 pm Updated: July 6, 2015, 1:55 pm
oil train protest arrest
Oil train protest arrest, Benicia-Martinez Rail Bridge, Benicia, California, Monday, July 6, 2015. Photo KRON4.

BENICIA (KRON) — Activists protesting the threat of crude oil transporting trains were detained Monday morning as they attempted to hang a 60-foot banner in front of the Benicia-Martinez railroad bridge.

The banner read “Stop Oil Trains Now: Are You in the Blast-Zone.org.”

Protester detained as she attempted to hang banner in front of the Benicia-Martinez rail bridge. Photo KRON4

Activists say the move was part of a plan to kick off a week of action with some 80 scheduled events in opposition to oil trains across the US and Canada.

The Benicia-Martinez Rail Drawbridge crosses the Carquinez Strait near refineries operated by Valero, Tesoro, Shell, and Chevron. Protesters say the span has been identified as a route used on the Blast-Zone.org map as the route used by oil trains moving through the Bay Area.

Organizers say this week’s protests coincide with the second anniversary of the fatal oil train rail disaster in Lac Megantic, Quebec that killed 47 people. Here in the Bay Area, the week of action will culminate with a demonstration and march in Richmond on Saturday, demonstrators tell KRON 4 news.

Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), and ForestEthics are all a part of the protest efforts. The groups say the concerns are over the threat of fatal oil train accidents, increased air pollution near railways and refineries, and carbon pollution from the high-carbon crude oil carried by oil trains.

“We are facing a triple threat. Oil trains dangerously roll though to burn filthy crude in refineries from Richmond to LA and Wilmington, all contributing to toxic pollution and global climate catastrophe,” says Jasmin Vargas, CBE, associate director.

Organizers say Saturday’s rally in Richmond is designed as a community event aimed at highlighting the stories of the neighborhoods and residents at risk because of crude oil transporting trains. The demonstration is set for 11 a.m. at Atchison Village Park at Collins Street and West Bissell Avenue.