Our city will definitely submit written comments, and they have invited surrounding jurisdictions to join them. Other organizations and concerned individuals are also encouraged to make written comments during the review period. To inform yourself about the project and begin thinking how you might respond, some recommended resources follow.
On June 18, Mike Webb, director of community development and sustainability for Davis assigned to the crude-by-rail issue, will provide an overview of the EIR process and ways to respond. Afterwards, we will take a look at the EIR document and consider the most effective ways to respond to the text as up-rail residents.
· Sacramento Bee story from June 7 by Tony Bizjak gives a local update.
· The Enterprise op-ed from June 8 gives an overview on developments in Davis.
· http://www.priceofoil.org/rail New Report: Runaway Train: The Reckless Expansion of Crude By Rail in North America is the first in a series, exposing North America’s booming crude-by-rail industry. It is published in conjunction with the launch of a unique interactive online map of crude-by-rail terminals and potential routes in North America. Excellent!
· http://www.beniciaindependent.com Find posts of all the official documents related to the proposed project as well as a plethora of articles
· http://www.sightline.org is also a terrific resource for the bigger picture of crude-by-rail and also coal and natural gas export. http://www.sightline.org/research/the-northwests-pipeline-on-rails/ and http://daily.sightline.org/blog_series/the-northwests-pipeline-on-rails/ This blog series is outstanding, although it is aimed at Washington and Oregon which are besieged by trains compared to CA so far.
· Natural Resources Defense Council letter on safety (30 pages)
· Two reports by Forest Ethics:
· http://yolanoclimateaction.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/off-the-rails-ultimate-nw-forst-ethicsreport.pdf and http://forestethics.org//sites/forestethics.huang.radicaldesigns.org/files/ForestEthics-Refineries-Report-Sept2012.pdf
· Document by Attorney General Kamala Harris on safety and health concerns.
· An article on liability, possibly an angle that will not be addressed adequately in the DEIR.
Gov. Brown added $6.7 million to the Office of Spill Prevention & Response to handle accidents. It won't go far in a catastrophe.
· More on risk assessment for railroads and who will be responsible for liability.
· Rachel Maddow's May 2, 2014 broadcast, “Public Safety at risk by Oil Train Shipments” at http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show
Key areas our up-rail responses may include:
· public safety (There is still little coming out of PHMSA (DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) or FRA (U.S. Federal Railroad Administration) or DOT (Department of Transportation) at the federal level, so states and cities are on their own.)
· the environmental hazards of spills,
· the industry exemption from the Right-to-know laws,
· health risks,
· conflicts of interest for the use of the rails (Capital Corridor commutes)
· lack of adequate liability coverage for accidents and spills, and
· the impact on climate change
The city of Benicia has to respond to all comments in their final EIR, so the more specific, thoughtful and numerous our comments, the better. Different people can address different aspects.
Another opportunity for citizen response: We expect the Draft EIR for the Phillips 66 Santa Maria refinery in San Luis Obispo County for a rail spur for daily oil trains of 80 cars per week to be released this summer, possibly in July.
See you June 18. Please bring a friend!
Contact Lynne Nittler at email@example.com or 530-756-8110 for questions.