Benicians Rally to Stop Valero Oil Train Project: City Council Holds First Hearing on Denied Valero Permit
April 4, 2016
The proposal would bring oil trains carrying millions of gallons of crude to a new oil train unloading terminal near the Valero oil refinery.
[Benicia, CA] Dozens of Benicia residents and elected officials, joined by Californians from around the region, rallied this evening on the steps of Benicia City Hall before the first of several city council hearings on the Valero oil train project proposal. The proposal would bring oil trains carrying millions of gallons of crude to a new oil train unloading terminal near the Valero oil refinery. In February the Benicia planning commission denied the permit for the project. The city council is now considering the oil company’s appeal.
The April 4 hearing is the first of several scheduled hearing dates set aside for public comment, deliberations by the city council, and voting. Though no decision is expected tonight, the council is likely to decide whether to grant Valero’s request to postpone future scheduled hearings in order to ask for a ruling from the federal Surface Transportation Board on preemption. City staff is recommending that the Council deny this request.
“As Benicians, we stand by the Benicia Planning Commission’s intelligent and courageous denial of Valero’s dangerous Crude By Rail Project,” said Andrés Soto, Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community. “This denial was based on numerous local impacts as well as up rail and regional impacts. We demand the City Council affirm the denial and deny Valero’s request for a continuance. Valero’s petition to request a Declaratory Order from the federal Surface Transportation Board on the question of ‘implied pre-emption’ is the wrong question to the wrong agency at the wrong time.”
“It’s high time for the Benicia City Council to follow the leadership of the Benicia Planning Commission and reject this dangerous project once and for all,” said Ethan Buckner, Stand California campaigner. “The City Council must listen to residents and elected officials from Benicia and uprail communities who are all counting on them to protect public health and safety. Benicia has the moral and legal responsibility to consider impacts all along the rail route, and the evidence is clear: oil trains are too dangerous for our communities.”
Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community, Stand, CREDO, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and 350 Sacramento presented a petition with more than 4,000 signatures from Californians around the region:
Please count me among the many citizens of Benicia and communities nearby who oppose bringing dangerous Bakken crude oil into Benicia by trains. We have seen horrendous resulting explosions following the recent massive increase in transport of crude oil from Bakken shale fields in North Dakota and tar sands mines in Alberta. The California Attorney General and the National Transportation Safety Board have sent out alarms about this dangerous new method of transporting unconventional crudes.
Not in Benicia! Not in the Bay Area! Not in communities uprail and downwind of Benicia!
Please convey my opposition to the City of Benicia and Valero.