FAIRFIELD — County supervisors will wait until July 22 to discuss proposed legislation by state Sen. Lois Wolk concerning shipments of crude oil by rail.
The county had initially targeted the discussion for Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. But county officials on Thursday said the staff reports couldn’t be finished in time for the agenda packet, which got released Thursday.
Among the crude-by-rail proposals in California is transporting North American crude oil by rail to the Valero refinery in Benicia. Two 50-car trains could go to the refinery each day. Fairfield and Suisun City are along the route, which follows the Capitol Corridor route on the Union Pacific tracks.
Wolk, D-Davis, has introduced a bill that would levy a fee on railroad tank cars transporting crude oil and other hazardous materials. The money would go toward developing and maintaining an emergency response system to deal with accidents and spills.
Benicia on Tuesday released a draft environmental report by ESA consultants on the crude-by-rail proposal. The report said the probability of a train accident resulting in a substantial hazard to the public or the environment is “less than significant.”
Wolk in a Wednesday press release questioned the draft environmental report’s conclusions.
In the past year, six major rail incidents across North America resulted in millions of gallons of spilled crude oil, Wolk said. Yet, she said, the draft environmental impact report estimates that an oil spill over the 69-mile leg from Roseville to the Valero plant in Benicia would occur only once every 111 years.
“That defies logic and is a risky assumption based on recent experience,” Wolk said.
The Solano County Board of Supervisors, while it is to discuss Wolk’s bill July 22, has no session scheduled to discuss the draft environmental impact report itself. Neither does the Fairfield City Council.
People and agencies have through Aug. 1 to submit comments on the draft report. The Benicia Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing at 7 p.m. July 10 at Benicia City Hall, 250 E. L St.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.