Crude-By-Rail EIR Response Workshops July 27

Posted: July 2, 2014 in Rail Transport of Oil, Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,
Map of Davis railroads showing the .5 mile U.S. DOT evacuation Zone and the 1.0 mile U.S. DOT potential impact zone plus schools.

Map of Davis railroads showing the .5 mile U.S. DOT evacuation Zone and the 1.0 mile U.S. DOT potential impact zone plus schools.

Public Workshop 
Responding to Draft Environmental Impact Report on
Crude-by-Rail Oil Trains through Davis

Sunday, July 27, 2-4 pm

The Blanchard Room at the Davis Branch Library

Bring questions, ideas for topics, drafts and laptops

Bring a friend! Every letter adds impact!
Comments are due September 15.


New this session:  A Youtube Workshop on the DEIR presented by Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community with useful background on what’s expected of us and a presentation by an oil expert on why Valero needs trade secrets.

A printed copy of the DEIR will be available for your use at the library beginning July 28.   Otherwise, go to{FDE9A332-542E-44C1-BBD0-A94C288675FD}

Or which has all the public comments in a searchable form, the entire DEIR, and a large collection of pertinent articles as well that may offer you documentation for your letter!  Just scroll through the list looking at titles and introductions.

Current updates in the oil train drama:

  1. The July 1st letter from congress members Garamendi, Thompson, Miller, and Matsui to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. Demands that the Bakken crude be “stabilized” (made less volatile by removing the liquid natural gas) before it is loaded into the tank cars for shipping.
  1. The letter from Diane Bailey, the senior NRDC scientist, sent to the CA Energy Commission on July 10 urging CA to take stronger steps against the dangers of crude-by-rail, including setting stronger regulations in high risk areas in CA.
  2. The Earth Justice letter to DOT on behalf of Sierra Club and ForestEthics on July 15 calling for an emergency order prohibiting the shipment of Bakken crude in hazardous DOT-111 tank cars. Look here for the legal petition, a map of crude-by-rail danger zones, and the White House response.

Click here for a ForestEthics review of the White House response.   DailyKos:

Preparation for July 27th:

1.  If you have a little time – Go to and browse to get an overview of the project, the EIR (table of contents), news article titles since last August, and how to submit your comments.  You’ll have fun and get ideas for what aspect you want to address in your response.  Explore other resources on this website here

2.  If you have more time:  pick an idea you might want to write about, such as liability issues in the event of an accident or spill, or the regional impact of one train of 100 cars each day; how to weigh risk vs benefit and how this project measures up, etc.    Then look through the DEIR report (posted at  ) for a section that might address your topic and read it. See if you spot faulty reasoning, or important concepts that are missing, etc.  Jot down notes or make a rough draft.  It will be most effective if you can cite evidence!

3.  If you can’t resist going deeper, or you have a knack for reading EIR reports, plunge in wholeheartedly and tackle as much as you wish.   Your letter can address more than one point, but again, the more serious and thoughtful each point is, the better. Clearly separate each point you want to make.

Agenda for July 27

1.  Updates

2.  CEQA and DEIR workshop by BEnicians for a Safe and Healthy Community and an expert from the oil industry speaking on why Valero needs trade secrets.

3.  Crafting responses to the DEIR for the Valero Rail Terminal Project

  • Ideas for a response letter
  • Suggestions for development, evidence, and where it fits in the EIR
  • Draft letter ready for feedback?

3.  Next steps

Other ways to take action:
1. Write to federal legislators (testing the crude & reducing the volatility, tank car safety
standards, train speeds, right-to-know issues, ideas from NRDC testimony, etc.)

2. Sign up to gather signatures on a joint letter or petition.

3. Send model letters to us to use as models for others writers.

4. Report unit trains passing through Davis. If you spot a unit train (50-100+ tank cars with the hazmat placard 1267), please phone the following individuals who need photos to document that trains are coming through their towns.
• Peter Dragovich of the Martinez Environmental Group, cell phone at 925-207-1191.
• Constance Beutel at 707-742-4419 in Benicia.
• Or Ed Ruszel also in Benicia (M-F, 8am-6pm at 707-745-6979 or after hours at his cell 510-325-9633).
•If possible, take a photo for Davis as well (high resolution if you can) and email it to me. Capture the impact of the line of cars, but also get a close-up of the 1267 placard if you can. Or give me a call at 756-8110.


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