by Lynne Nittler
After three years of study, the Benicia Planning Commission voted not to certify the final EIR and denied the Valero Crude-by-Rail Project on February 11. This decision came about through the sustained efforts of The Benicians for a Healthy and Safe Community, with consistent support from individuals in Davis and Sacramento who wrote letters and testified during all the stages of the Environmental Impact Review process. The involvement of many uprail agencies (seven Air Quality Management Districts, lawyers from Sierra Club, NRDC, Forest Ethics, Stanford Law Center, the CA Attorney General, etc.) and governmental bodies (City of Davis, Yolo County, Sacramento Area Council of Governments, etc.) were instrumental in the Planning Commissioners’ decision-making. Many hundreds of pages of written comments were submitted.
Valero appealed the decision to the Benicia City Council. Public testimony will be on April 4, 6 and 19.
So where do you stand on the Valero Crude-by-rail Project?
After three years of hearing about the issue, are you ready to put in some time to protect Davis from the multiple dangers 100 tank cars of crude oil pose as they enter CA on stretches of high risk rail (think Donner Pass, Feather River Canyon, and Dunsmuir), travel over pristine wilderness areas and clean rivers, that become our drinking water, until they roll through Sacramento at only 40 miles per hour since it is a more populated metropolitan area. They can go faster through Davis, which is not so dense in population, pass Jepson Prairie Preserve and head out across Suisun Marsh before the crude reaches its destination at the Valero Refinery.
Concerned Davis residents are encouraged to write their specific concerns to the Benicia City Council. Hints for letter-writing ideas and where to send the letters are found at the website below.
Residents are also invited to reserve a space on the bus heading to Benicia on April 4. There will be a pickup at Caffe Italia parking lot at approximately 5:15pm to arrive in Benicia around 6pm. The bus will leave Benicia at 9pm. Riders do not need to testify. We need a large Davis contingent present to show our concern about the prospect of oil trains coming through our downtown.
For more details, read “Update” and “Ride the bus” posted at www.yolanoclimateaction.org Contact Lynne at email@example.com