Thursday, October 30, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Davis will weigh in on oil-by-rail refinery plan

By
From page A1 | March 13, 2014 |

The city of Davis is on track to express its views on a potential addition to the Valero Oil Refinery in Benicia that would draw trains filled with explosive crude oil through Davis.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to direct city staff to continue to monitor issues and data surrounding Valero’s application with the city of Benicia.

The Valero proposal is a land-use application to the city of Benicia to build a facility that would allow a shift from delivery of crude by oil tanker to crude by rail, according to a Davis city presentation. The oil would reach Valero via rail lines stretching from Roseville to Davis to Benicia and potentially affecting every other city and environmental habitat down the line, should a train derail.

One major point of safety concern is the rail curve in downtown Davis, where trains reportedly must travel close to 10 miles per hour to be safe. Other curves in the nearby rail system are at much faster speeds. Some members of the public have warned the City Council they’ve seen a few near accidents at the curve.

The U.S. Department of Transportation handles safety of rail cars, and on Feb. 25 it issued an emergency order requiring stricter standards to transport crude oil by rail. Many oil cars are single-hulled, meaning if they get punctured or ripped, there is no interior double hull to help prevent a leak.

The city is vowing to partner with the Yolo County Office of Emergency Services to draw up an emergency plan.

According to analysis in the Washington Post, more oil was spilled by rail cars last year than in all the years since 1975, when the federal government began collecting data. Bakken Shale crude in North Dakota and the lack of domestic pipeline systems to address new domestic oil deposits found by hydraulic fracturing have made oil by rail a more frequent method of delivering oil to refineries and ports.

In Benicia, the Valero project would allow delivery of 70,000 barrels of Bakken Shale crude oil per day, meaning that two 50-car-long rail cars filled with Bakken oil would pass through Davis and the downtown curve each day. Currently, the Valero refinery receives oil by ship and pipeline.

The push to get the city of Davis to weigh in has been the result of the culmination of months of effort by a group of Davis residents who are alarmed at the possibility of a derailment and explosion in downtown Davis that they say could take out a portion of the city.

Led by local environmentalist Lynne Nittler, the group first approached the Davis Natural Resources Commission in January, which added its recommendation to the City Council. The commission wants the city to eventually take a position on the Valero project and reach out to civic leaders all along the rail line that would reach from Roseville to Benicia.

Last month, the council largely agreed with the recommendation, but in hearing the update Tuesday, the council added extra conditions for city staff, including engaging regional and national agencies to address safety concerns. Council members also want city staff to work with other agencies to draft a joint resolution addressing regional safety concerns and to synchronize the efforts whenever possible.

The Benicia environmental review process could take months, but so-called up-rail communities like Davis were not notified of the Valero project and are starting behind the curve in the process. But time could be extended because the magnitude of the project will make it likely that the Benicia City Council will review the proposal after the Benicia Planning Commission finishes with the environmental review, Davis city staff said.

City staff have signed up for alerts of updates on the project and the project process.

— Reach Dave Ryan at dryan@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Defense rests after Gardner’s courtroom complaints

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Central Park’s oak tree deck in limbo

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Clinton at UCD to get out the vote, stump for locals

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Stockton faces key ruling on bankruptcy

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Pedestrian injured in hit-and-run collision

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Celebrate Day of the Dead on Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Meet Archer, Poppenga and Sunder

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    UCD prof will speak in Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Eichorn’s shredding event benefits STEAC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    All voices welcome at sing-along

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Community forum devoted to returning military personnel

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Davis Media Access: Treasures from the vault get new life

    By Autumn Labbe-Renault | From Page: A3

    Kids ready to trick-or-treat for UNICEF

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Yolo Food Bank invites locals to run with the flock

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A4

     
    ‘The Cooler Bandits’ documentary will be screened in Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Low-water landscape workshop planned

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Sending ‘Hugs from Home’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Yolo RCD welcomes new executive director

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A5

     
    Volunteers sought to advocate for kids

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Sudwerk Ultimator arrives with a vengeance

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Forum

    She has all the leverage

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Duo are the best-informed

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

    Humble and hard-working

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

     
    Yes on 47 for our safety

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

     
    Something’s missing

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

    This is a terrific trio

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

     
    Elect Poppenga to school board

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

    .

    Sports

    Something’s got to give as Aggies host UNC

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Davis vs. Goliath: Devils travel to take on Grant

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

    DHS escapes with a Senior Night victory

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggies hope to turn Gauchos into net zombies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    MVP Bumgarner leads Giants to World Series win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie loss allows Gauchos to tie them for first

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    JV/frosh roundup: Rio falls to DHS boys, who then take fifth at tourney

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Warriors whip Kings in their season opener

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    Youth roundup: Diamonds have a ball at Disco-Tech

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Double dip for Devil tennis team

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A10

     
    College Corner: Going the honors route

    By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: A10

    Chávez kids are movin’

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    Wineaux: Calming and curbing the crouching curmudgeon

    By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A11

     
    Hear Amplified DNA on Saturday at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Thursday Live! plans jazz and blues

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    International Film Series continues with ‘Australia’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    All are welcome at Fun Time Follies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Joseph Francis Gray

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, October 30, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A9