Over the last three weeks, communities everywhere have watched in horror and solidarity with the people of East Palestine, Ohio. Few of those communities have experienced the depth of concern and understanding as here in Benicia, California.
Backstory, and looking ahead…
In 2013, the Benicia Valero Refinery proposed bringing in two 50-car bomb trains every day, filled with Canadian tar sands crude oil. It took 3 years, but a staunch group of citizens and an incredible army of allies eventually overcame Valero’s slick campaign. On September 20, 2016, with backing from the Benicia Planning Commission, the California Attorney General and the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, Benicia’s City Council voted to deny Valero’s proposal. The City breathed a sigh of relief. And we continue to marvel at our good fortune, and the good fortune of communities uprail from here.
Our collective breath of relief, however, must be challenged by the everyday passage of trains carrying multiple hazardous cargos through our town and across the bridge to other San Francisco Bay Area cities. Stricter regulations are needed from federal and state authorities. Regulations on the trains and the profit-seeking companies that run them, on the rails, and on public preparations for potential disasters. As I said in the video, This is NOT Benicia, but WHO WILL BE NEXT?
The Benicia Independent