VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD: City releases revised report on Valero’s Crude-By-Rail project

Repost from the Vallejo Times-Herald

City releases revised report on Valero’s Crude-By-Rail project

By Irma Widjojo, 08/31/15, 6:50 PM PDT

Benicia >> The revised draft environmental impact report for the proposed Valero’s Crude-By-Rail project was released Monday.

The new version of the draft includes “potential impacts that could occur uprail of Roseville, California (i.e., between a crude oil train’s point of origin and the California State border, and from the border to Roseville) and to supplement the (draft environmental impact report) DEIR’s evaluation of the potential consequences of upsets or accidents involving crude oil trains based on new information that has become available since the DEIR was published,” according to a City of Benicia press release.

The draft of the report was first released June 17, 2014. However, due to a number of public comments and concerns, the city decided to revise portions of the report and recirculate them back to the public.

The updated parts are subject to another round of a 45-day public comment period.

The Planning Commission will hold a formal public hearing to receive comments on the RDEIR (revised draft environmental impact report) on Sept. 29.

In anticipation of the number of speakers, additional Planning Commission meetings to receive comments on the RDEIR are scheduled for Sept. 30, Oct. 1, and Oct. 8. These additional meetings will only be held as necessary to hear public comment. All meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, Benicia City Hall, at 250 East L St.

No action on the projects will be taken at these meetings, staff said.

Comments on the RDEIR may be provided at the public hearing, or may be submitted in writing, no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15.

Written comments should be submitted to or Principal Planner Amy Million at the Community Development Department.

If the project is approved, Valero Benicia Refinery will be allowed to transport crude oil through Benicia via two 50-tanker car trains, rather than shipping the crude oil by boat. It will not replace the crude that is transported by pipeline.

According to reports, the project has a potential “to result in significant impacts to the environment in the following subject areas: Air quality and greenhouse gases, traffic and transportation, hazards and hazardous materials, biological resources, energy conservation, geology and soils, hydrology and water quality, cultural resources, land use and planning, and noise.”

An environmental analysis also indicated that there would be “a significant and unavoidable impact associated with air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, hazards and hazardous materials, and biological resources.”

Valero Benicia Refinery applied for a permit to extend Union Pacific Railroad lines for the crude transportation in early 2013, and has since garnered public concerns about rail safety and environmental impact.

Valero officials have contended that the railroad addition would make the refinery more competitive by allowing it to process more discounted North American crude oil.

For further information about the RDEIR and the public hearing contact Million at 707-746-4280.

The report can be reviewed at the Benicia Public Library, 150 East L St.; the Community Development Department, 250 East L St.; or online at