Tuesday, September 16, 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

.

News

 
School nurses stretched thin

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Exploration of dementia lecture set for Sept. 25

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Sierra Club gathers for morning walks

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

DPNS has afternoon openings

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Paws for Thought: Socialize your new pup at UCD’s Yappy Hour

By Evelyn Dale | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
DHS parents go back to school

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

New DHS Hall-of-Famers

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A3

 
Sick-pay benefits expanded to millions

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A4

Bad roads cost Californians billions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Farmers market continues at Sutter Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Yolo County’s looking for a few good advisers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Sutter qigong classes start Sept. 22

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Halloween costume sale benefits preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Hundreds flee wildfires; homes burn

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Search the Internet at Connections Café

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Garage, bake sales benefit outdoor education trip

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

 
Harmony Award nominations sought

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Da Vinci seniors take on Constitution essay

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
.

Forum

Maybe not the best rebound guy

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Carbon fee and dividend plan is the answer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Nate Beeler cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Many reasons to back Sunder

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
I support Madhavi Sunder

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

A leader with heart and vision

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Open Cup final has local flavor

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1

 
Devil volleyball victories keep piling up

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS needs just 10 boys to top Elk Grove

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Finding the good in a tough DHS football loss

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

More pressure on QB would be nice for Aggies

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
Raber: glad to join in bringing readers golf column

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B1

Highlights galore in Junior Blue Devil weekend

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Big Monday for Masiel as DHS golfers win league opener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

Woodland artist hosts event at her new studio

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
‘Jane Eyre’ to screen at I-House

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

‘Shrek, The Musical’ shines at DMTC

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Anais Mitchell to play Third Space

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Irish fiddlers come to Davis house show

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Jenny Lynn and Her Real Gone Daddies play at Picnic in the Park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7