Key crude oil shipping report postponed

Public release of a report on Valero Refining Co.’s plans to ship 100 train cars of crude oil daily through downtown Sacramento and Davis has been postponed one week. Amy Million, a planner with the city, said the environmental analysis of Valero’s project should be ready for public review next Tuesday.

If the project is approved, Union Pacific is expected to operate two 50-car trains a day from the Roseville railyard to the Benicia refinery. Roseville city official Mark Wolinski said Sacramento area representatives will review the report to see what it says about risks and potential safety steps for local cities.

Valero is one of several California refineries planning increased rail shipments of oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region and from Canadian tar sands. Federal safety officials recently warned that Bakken crude appears more volatile than historic crudes.

The Brown administration on Tuesday issued a report saying crude-oil rail shipping increases pose safety risks to the public and waterways, as well as challenges for local first responders, many of whom have limited training and resources to handle major derailments and spills.

The report, “Oil By Rail Safety in California,” includes a map showing rail sections believed to be “high-hazard” for derailments. In Northern California, hazardous areas include the rail lines through the Feather River Canyon, east of Colfax, and in the Dunsmuir area.

“Keeping California’s residents and environment safe from oil spills from rail deliveries, pipelines or marine shipments is a top public safety priority,” said Mark Ghilarducci, head of the state Office of Emergency Services. “Implementing these recommendations will bolster a growing array of prevention, response and regulatory efforts.”

To read the state crude oil safety report, go to: http://www.caloes.ca.gov/HazardousMaterials/Pages/Oil-By-Rail.aspx.

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