Huge victory across the Carquinez Strait: Benicia City Council votes “No!” on the same day that the Surface Transporation Board denies federal exemption status for the Valero refinery expansion project


Caption by environmental college, Ethan Buckner:  “This is what Democracy looks like!”  

By Roger Staw, Benicia Independent, September 21, 2016

This was a stunning victory after a 3.5 year long Davey and Goliath fight. Valerio went down in a one-two punch.  The  council’s 5-0 “NO!”  note and the U.S. Surface Transportation Board stinging rebuke of Valero’s claim of federal pre-emption status both happened on the same day.

The San Francisco Chronicle sees this decision affecting oil projects elsewhere in the county. Indeed Phillips 66 has been trying to do an end run around our communities of Contra Coast Coast and San Luis Obispo Counties claiming federal pre-emption defence in its two lawsuits.

Back in New York, Albany County executive Dan McCoy called the federal ruling “a victory for the community there and upholds that the municipality was not asserting undue influence on transportation by rail carriers and was not preempted by federal law from regulating such activity.”