Vallejo Times-Herald: Benicia will update crude-by-rail project’s environmental report

Repost from The Vallejo Times-Herald

Benicia will update crude-by-rail project’s environmental report

By Irma Widjojo, 02/03/15

Benicia >> The City of Benicia announced Tuesday that staff will be updating sections of the draft environmental impact review report for Valero Benicia Refinery’s proposed crude-by-rail project.

“There’s a requirement that if we’ve identified any issues that might have new significant impacts we would have to circulate the report,” interim Community Development Director Dan Marks said.

Marks said staff has identified one to two of those issues, and is still reviewing the public comments received after the draft report was initially released in June. However, he did not release any specifics of the identified issues, citing ongoing review.

Marks said the updated sections are set to be recirculated June 30, at the earliest. The public will then have 45 days from the release date to submit any comments on the updates.

“This is a scheduling announcement,” he said. “We’re still working on it. It’s going to take a while.”

The initial report states that the controversial project would have “significant and unavoidable” air-quality impacts within the Sacramento basin because of emissions from oil trains traveling to and from the refinery. However, the project would result in “no impact” or “less-than-significant” impacts locally to biological resources, cultural resources, energy conservation, geology and soils, greenhouse gas emissions, hazards and hazardous materials, water quality, land use and planning and noise, the report finds.

If approved, the proposed project would allow the refinery to bring two 50-tanker car trains of crude oil in and out of Benicia every day, replacing crude shipments by boat.