Outrageous. Benicia City Staff is recommending approval of Valero's dangerous crude-by-rail proposal, despite the "significant and unavoidable” impacts to air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, biological resources and public safety outlined by the Final EIR, which clearly identifies the "No Project Alternative" as the "Environmentally Superior Alternative." Staff declares that federal preemeption prevents it from objecting to rail-related hazards, even as it parrots Valero's arguments about the blessings of lowered GHGs and increased jobs and economic benefits.
Read the action alert from Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community here.
Make sure you've already submitted your comments to the City of Benicia or at least signed the petition opposing the project. The Planning Commission will take public comments on the Final EIR on February 8th before it votes whether to approve the use permit for this project. City Staff has just issued the following instruction for speaking at Monday's hearing:
1. You can sign up on today starting at 8:30 am by calling the Planning Department (707-746-4280).
2. You can sign up for others besides yourself when signing up in person on the 8th! (Guess what Valero will do with this one!)
Here’s the announcement on the City’s CBR web page as of 2/2:
IF YOU WISH TO COMMENT DURING THE HEARING: The City will be instituting a sign up system. Interested members of the public will be allowed to speak in order of sign up. Sign ups will be available on the day of the meeting(s) from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Community Development Department. If you are unable to come in person, please call 707-746-4280 to be added to the list. At the hearing, please go to the sign up table just outside of the Council Chambers. Your name will be called in the order in which you signed up. You do not have to sign up in order to speak. However, you will not be called on until those who have signed up have spoken. In order to accommodate the public, we have arranged for overflow rooms in City Hall with the hearing streaming for you to view and listen. You can also view the event live from the City’s website.
Why we should make every effort to testify: If approved, this project would allow the Benicia refinery to transport 70,000 barrels per day of crude oil in two 50-tanker-car trains, instead of shipping the oil by tanker. The Final EIR lists many serious unmitigatable environmental impacts should the project be approved.
Let's remind the Planning Commission that federal preemption did not cause the San Luis Obispo County staff to roll over and automatically approve a crude-by-rail project within its own jurisdiction. Instead, it understood that it had the power to affect what happens uprail by denying the rail project it was asked to rubberstamp.
Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community urges all allies to attend the Benicia Planning Commission meeting on February 8 at the Benicia City Hall, 250 East L Street, Benicia. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m., but supporters are urged to arrive by at least 5:30 p.m.—if not earlier—to get the best seats and to arrive before Valero's supporters.
Getting There: Andrés Soto, CBE's Richmond Organizer, is arranging car pools from Richmond, gathering at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center at 4:00 p.m. and departing at 4:30 p.m. If you need a ride or can drive to Benicia, please contact Andrés at email@example.com or at 510.282.5363.
Please RSVP here.
ADDITIONAL HEARINGS MAY BE HELD ON TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY. Updates can be found at the Benicia Independent.
Project documents can be found on the City of Benicia website.
250 E L St
City Council Chambers
Benicia, CA 94510
Google map and directions