Sunday, December 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Garamendi urges action on crude oil trains

By
From page A1 | July 03, 2014 |

GaramendiW

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove. Courtesy photo

Northern California congressional representatives this week called for more action by the U.S. Department of Transportation to increase the safety of crude oil shipments by rail.

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, and three House colleagues called for the department to:

* Speed rules on phasing out old tanker cars, in favor of new, stronger models, and the implementation of technology designed to monitor train movements and automatically stop or slow a train before accidents can occur;

* Require the removal of flammable natural gas liquids from crude from the Bakken region of North Dakota before it’s loaded into rail cars; and

* Report on the industry compliance with an emergency order that shipment information be shared with local emergency officials.

The Valero Benicia refinery has plans to bring in 70,000 barrels of crude per day on trains that would rumble through downtown Davis. It’s a project to which the Davis City Council and others are opposed until safety concerns have been addressed, but only federal officials are empowered to regulate rail traffic.

A call for stricter rules has followed a series of accidents, including the 2013 explosion of an oil train that leveled the city of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, and killed 47 people.

In a letter to Secretary Anthony Foxx, the representatives praised the “steady progress” on crude oil safety while urging accountability, comprehensive oversight and stringent standards.

“We are especially concerned with the high risks involved with transporting lighter, more flammable crude in densely populated areas,” the representatives wrote. “Should spills or explosions occur, as we have seen over the last year, the consequences could be disastrous, costing lives, damaging property, and harming the environment.”

Reps. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento; Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena; and George Miller, D-Martinez; co-wrote the letter with Garamendi.

The industry would need to construct small processing towers to remove natural gas liquids from the crude. The towers, known as stabilizers, are common in some parts of the country, according to the letter.

“Because your agency has explicitly stated that all options are on table, we believe that requiring the petroleum industry to make lighter crude shipments by rail less volatile must be a part of the solution,” the representatives wrote.

“And, although building infrastructure will require time and investment, industry experts have also publicly stated that stripping (natural gas liquids) from lighter crude is a part of the equation for addressing railcar safety.”

Positive Train Control technology should be prioritized, they wrote, in order to prevent collisions and derailments caused by excessive speed. Congress has mandated that it be put in place by the end of 2015.

New tank cars built to minimize the impact of an explosion should replace 1960s-era DOT-111 tank cars for hauling crude, the representatives wrote.

“The upgrading on the tank cars is a very important requirement,” said Garamendi, a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, in an interview on Wednesday. “I’ve talked to Secretary Foxx about this three times now with my colleagues, and he is moving quickly to institute regulations that would require tank cars that are hauling Bakken oil to be of the highest standard. That is not the case now, but regulations should be in place in the next three to six months.”

A recently released draft of the environmental impact report for the Valero Benicia refinery project concluded that the chances of a spill of 100 barrels or more along the Roseville-Benicia line is extremely unlikely — a 0.009 chance for all trains — and that precautions have been taken to reduce the risk. Valero Benicia has said it will only use newer, sturdier tank models known as CPC-1232.

Garamendi said the concern he’s heard about the oil trains has been “limited — a little bit from the community, but mostly it’s been from public officials.”

“I have communities (in the 3rd District) through which the line goes: Davis, Dixon, Fairfield, Suisun, Marysville, and they’re at risk,” Garamendi said. “They were at risk before the Bakken oil, they are now and they will continue to be, probably, for many, many years as a result of the increased oil traffic on trains.

“It’s an ongoing concern, but it’s one that can be dealt with.”

— Reach Cory Golden at cgolden@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

     
    What’s new at UCD? Construction projects abound

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    No-nonsense Musser voted Citizen of the Year

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sharing a meal, and so much more

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Brinley Plaque honors environmental stalwart

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    AP sources: Cops’ killer angry over Garner death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Raul Castro: Don’t expect detente to change Cuban system

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Police seek help in finding runaway twin girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Downtown crash results in DUI arrest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    March trial date set in Davis molest case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Enterprise plans Christmas, New Year’s holiday hours

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Donors, volunteers honored on Philanthropy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Surprise honor is really nice, dude

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

     
    E-cigs surpass regular cigarettes among teens

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    It’s not a pretty picture

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B4

     
    Google me this: Should I hit that button?

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B4

    Too late to pick a fight

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    All police need to humanize

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Are we only a fair-weather bike city?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Join us in making our world more just

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    The electronic equivalent of war

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    The Green House effect: Homes where the elderly thrive

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

     
    Stenz shines as DHS girls take a tournament title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Manzanares not quite finished carrying the rock

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD women look to improve, despite game at No. 7 Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Second-half run spurs Aggie men to 8-1

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    49ers fall to San Diego in overtime

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Marrone Bio expands its product reach in Latin America

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Sierra Northern Railway names CEO

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Sink your teeth into Vampire Penguin

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, December 21, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B8