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Taken at Richmond Connector Site 1/28/14
Taken at Richmond Connector Site 1/28/14
   Construction has begun on the new Richmond Rail Connector project. located between Parr Boulevard and Richmond Parkway in the City of Richmond CA.  8 members of the  California Transportation Commission (CTC) voted unanimously in August 2013 to provide $10.9 million to the California Department of Transportation for the connector between BNSF lines in San Pablo and Richmond.

     Although the project is touted as a traffic control project, its proximity to the Chevron Oil Refinery is uncanny.  The Connector is in close proximity to housing, schools and playgrounds.  Environmentalists and residents are concerned with the connector, for several reasons.  Recent train explosions and Chevrons’ expected increase in the refining of Bakken crude oil, a highly explosive crude, highlight these concerns.  Bakken Crude will be transported from Bakken, North Dakota by rail.

     The  US  Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) warns that:
…recent derailments and resulting fires indicate that the type of crude oil being transported from the Bakken region may be more flammable than traditional heavy crude oil. Based on preliminary inspections conducted after recent derailments in North Dakota, Alabama, and Lac-Megantic, Quebec involving Bakken crude oil, PHMSA is reinforcing the requirement to properly test, characterize, classify, and where appropriate sufficiently degasify hazardous materials prior to and during transportation.

     CALTRAN is instrumental in this project.  In their report , CALTRAN stated that the following environmental factors would not be potentially affected by this project : “Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Air Quality, Population / Housing Hazards & Hazardous Materials”. The report does not seem to address the increase of greenhouse gas emissions which will occur due to increase of tar sands refining. Carbon dioxide emissions from the production of shale oil and shale gas are extremely higher than conventional oil production.  This fact has not been accounted for in the report, as well as the hazards from transporting highly explosive materials.

     CALTRANS and BNFS are partners in the Connector project.  The funding is derived from tax payers, and the project benefits BNFS and Chervon.“BNSF Railway is the only carrier that touches all western shale plays”, said Teresa Perkins, the Class I’s general director of petroleum. ‘The railroad currently moves 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day and expects that volume to grow’, she added at the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers.

     The BNSF Railway is the second-largest freight railroad network in North America.  On Feb. 12, 2010, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC, (formerly known as Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation) and BNSF Railway Company became subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway Inc

     Warren E. Buffett is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc..  2012 total operating revenue was about $20.8 billion. BNSF transports enough crude oil from the Williston Basin of North Dakota and Montana to the tanks of more than 656,000 average sized vehicles every day.  The BNFS fact sheet states that in 2012, BNSF hauled 2.2 million coal shipments. .  Also, petroleum transportation was up 23.66  % in the first three weeks of 2014, stated in their weekly report.

     The huge increase in refining and transportation of these dangerous oils are not due to an increase in demand locally. Billions of gallons of oil are being exported in the San Francisco Bay Area, as reported by the New York Times :  “the region’s five oil refineries along San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait were responsible for $7.8 billion in oil exports in 2010, more than any other metro area in the country, according to a report released  by the Brookings Institute.

     Governor Brown is proposing 6.8 million in funds in the state budget for the  Office of Oil Spills Prevention and Response Program in anticipation of the increased risk of inland oil spills.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Cal Tran report is 404 not found (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glen The Plumber

    Secondly, you mention that the report doesnt have anything about tar sands GHG emissions in it..... why would it? It is more than likely that in the future no Tar Sands will enter California to be refined. Nor are there any plans to do so.

    sp:  gallons of oil......  jusssayin

    .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 01:15:18 PM PST

  •  This diary is inconsistent (5+ / 0-)

    At one point it says the  rail connecton is bad because it will haul explosive Baaken crude oil.

    Then the diary says the rail spur is bad because the State never studied the rail line's impacts on Tar Sands  production and the resulting  climate change impacts.

    What kind of crude oil will this rail spur haul?

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 01:16:31 PM PST

    •  Diary misuses the term "explosive" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, 6412093, Roadbed Guy

      Explosive is a dog whistle that works in spreading fear in the nearby community. It does not apply to tar sands oil. Ask anyone who has dealt with real explosives. The difference is in the speed of detonation.

      Are the refineries in Richmond designed to process the Bakken oil? Watch for the plant upsets to occur during startup with a different grade of oil.

      •  The Richmond Chevron refinery (0+ / 0-)

        has a pipeline that's brought in San Joaquin Valley crudes for over a century.  Those are a variety of light to heavy crudes, heavy most recently.

        Tankers also bring in crude from many sources.

        Newspaper articles say Tar Sands will arrive by train.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 04:02:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good luck! See Lac Megantic QC Bakken explosion (0+ / 0-)

    when train derailed in centre of town. Heaven protect you all, in Richmond CA.

    The Bakken  crude is unpredictably volatile, very dangerous to ship, unrefined. Should be refined onsite, maybe with tarsands crude from Alberta. One or two new refineries, right on the North Dakota-Saskatchewan border

    "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage "

    by ontario on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 08:10:06 PM PST

  •  Thanks for bringing this development to light. (0+ / 0-)

    No doubt Richmond residents will respond; they may have already.

    Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

    Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 09:46:37 PM PST

  •  Chevron Richmond Refinery (0+ / 0-)

    As a Chevron spokesperson, I want to point out that the article inaccurately implies that the Chevron Richmond Refinery will receive crude by rail. The Richmond Refinery only receives crude by ship, nothing comes in to the Refinery via rail. Additionally, it is important to note that the majority of crude oil we process comes from Alaska and the Middle East. And, the Richmond Refinery’s upcoming Modernization Project will not change this. It will NOT allow us to process heavy crudes, unconventional tar sands and will NOT allow us to accept crude by rail.

    •  Thank you for your response (0+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately, because this diary is a few days old, I fear not too many members of the community may see this.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 01:33:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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