Regional Agency Says Crude Oil Train Study Flawed

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The agency representing 22 cities and 6 counties in the Sacramento Region released a draft letter saying the environmental impact report for a crude oil proposal is inadequate.  The City of Benecia drafted the report on a proposal by Valero Oil to transport volatile Bakken crude oil by rail to its refinery.

As many as 100 tanker cars a day would travel from the Roseville rail yard through Sacramento, West Sacramento and Davis into the East Bay.  Cities along the route have a chance to respond to the EIR and the proposal has drawn protests by residents who feel it endangers those who live near the tracks.

SACOG’s draft response agrees with critics who disagree with the analysis that says there is one chance in 111 years for an oil car derailment along the proposed route.  The letter says the EIR did not consider fire and explosions as a derailment outcome.  In the last 18 months it listed 8 incidents of Bakken oil spills, some resulting in massive fires and deaths.

The response asks that:

-local emergency agencies be notified of oil shipments

-money be set aside for training emergency responders to deal with fires and explosions

-restrictions on oil tankers to be stored along the route

-installation of the latest remote braking systems and anti-rollover devices on tanker cars

-money to upgrade rail safety systems along the tracks

Yolo County Supervisor and SACOG Vice-chair Don Saylor said the response has nothing to do with the politics of domestic oil production or shipments.

“Our concern is for the public safety in the Sacramento Region and the two million people who live here,” said Saylor.

The full board must approve the response letter at its August 21st meeting before it is sent to the city of Benicia, but Saylor says he believes the board will give its O.K.  Some individual cities in the region have already sent their objections to the EIR findings in separate resolutions and letters.

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