Every voice counts!  The public is invited to both hearings!

The California oil train sagas continue with an urgent next chapter for both the Valero Crude-by-Rail Project in Benicia and the Phillips 66 Rail Spur Extension Project in San Luis Obispo.

Both cities will hold final public hearings to listen to brief public comments on their Final Environmental Impact Reports (FEIR) and whether the projects should be denied or approved.  This may be the last opportunity to oppose the permits to allow infrastructure for the transport of crude by rail to the two refineries.  Uprail voices can make an impact on the impending decisions.

San Luis Obispo / Phillips 66 Refinery.  On Feb. 3rd take Amtrak to San Luis Obispo to testify for 2 minutes the morning of Feb. 4th on the Final EIR released in December detailing eleven “significant and unavoidable ” impacts. These include air quality and health impacts, and the risk of “fire or explosion in the vicinity of a populated area” that would affect all communities along the rail route.

The hearings will be at the San Luis Obispo County Building, 1055 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo. Speaker numbers will be given out beginning at 8:00 a.m. on February 4th. The hearings will begin at 9:00 am.

Travel to San Luis Obispo.  Local activists will be taking Amtrak to San Luis Obispo. Please contact Elizabeth Lasensky, elasensky@yahoo.com if you would like to join the group.  Some funding is available to cover travel and lodging.

Email your comments:    You may also email written comments to Planning Commissioners and Supervisors at these email addresses. If possible, make your comments specific to the FEIR above, especially if you wrote a letter that received comments in the FEIR and you wish to respond.

You may copy and paste this list of the five Planning Commissioners, seven Supervisors, and the general address for the Board of Supervisors into your email:

jim@jimirving.com; ktopping@calpoly.edu; frenchbicycles@gmail.com; elcarroll@co.slo.ca.us; rhedges@co.slo.ca.us; bgibson@co.slo.ca.us; bgibson@co.slo.ca.us; ahill@co.slo.ca.us; lreynolds151@gmail.com; darnold@co.slo.ca.us; fmecham@co.slo.ca.us; jbrennan@co.slo.ca.us; boardofsups@co.slo.ca.us;

Benicia / Valero Refinery  The FEIR was released on January 5.   The City of Benicia Planning Commission will hold a formal public hearing to receive comments on Monday, February 8, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. to consider the Final EIR and a Use Permit for the Crude by Rail project.  If warranted, additional meetings will be held February 9-11.   All meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, Benicia City Hall, located at 250 East L Street, Benicia, CA 94510.

Join a carpool to Benicia on Feb. 8:  Contact Lynne at lnittler@sbcglobal.net to carpool on Feb. 8, leaving from the Unitarian Universalist Church at 27074 Patwin Road off Russell Blvd. at 4:00pm to arrive in time to get seats and sign up to speak on the first night.  Put “Benicia carpool” in the subject line.  For a big impact, we need 4-5 carpools!  Each person will only be allowed to speak briefly.  We can provide speaking points.

Write if you can’t come in person.  Individuals may also send comments on the specifics of the FEIR and recommendations on whether to accept or deny the proposed project to the City of Benicia.  Email  Amy Million, Principal Planner, Benicia Community Development Department:  amillion@ci.benicia.ca.us.

Individuals may also mail letters to Amy Million at 250 East L Street, Benicia, CA 94510, or send by Fax: (707) 747-1637.