Oil spills in our bay




Agencies investigate yet another spill at the Phillip 66’s Rodeo marina

By Ted Goldberg (The California Report, KQED)                      Sept. 5, 2017


kqed photo

Monday’s accident is evidence that 66 has not improved its operations since the last year’s oil spill.  The 2016 spill was the impetus of over 1,000 befouled air complaints in Vallejo.  Over 100 people sought medical treatment.

As per Baykeepers Choksi-Chugh in an interview Tuesday:   “This spill is definitely another black mark for Phillips 66 in their proposal to expand.”

Read the full story here:  https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2017/09/05/agencies-investigate-another-oil-spill-at-phillips-66-east-bay-refinery/

Update: “P66 Rodeo Marina Infrastructure breakdown:  Corroded pipes cited as cause for recent crude oil spill”

By Ted Goldberg, KQED                                                                                        Sept. 8, 2017

“A corrosive pipeline indicates the marine terminal’s infrastructure is getting old and could allow future spills,” according to Sejal Choksi-Chugh, executive director of San Francisco Baykeeper.

If the P66 Marine terminal expansion is approved, accidents like this will be the new normal.

Read the updated story here:  https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2017/09/08/pipeline-corrosion-caused-small-phillips-66-oil-spill-prompting-big-concern/


Waters of SF Bay at risk: P66 Marine Terminal Expansion will double the number tankers bringing in Tar Sands

By Jean Tepperman, East Bay Express (August 23, 2017)

Vallejo residents remember the 2016 P66 marine spill as if it were yesterday.  It sent over 100 people to hospital emergency rooms.

Environmentalist worry about spills.  Heavy tar sands oil oil sinks into the water, making impossible to skim it off like a regular oil spill and simply stays embedded in the environment.

tanker atlantic

Read the story here

Shell Oil pulls the plug on the crude-by-rail expansion project in Acacortes, Washington

By Seattle Times Staff (October 6, 2016)

Thursday delivered a sweet “two-fer”  to West Coast communities downtrack from proposed crude-by-rail projects.
Following the P66 “No” in San Luis Obispo, Shell oil quietly withdrew its crude-by-rail up in Anacortes, Washington.
Kristen Boyles, an attorney at Earthjustice who represented conservation groups in their legal challenge of the project, called the decision to stop the project an extraordinary victory for the people of Skagit County and Washington state.
“Having a full and transparent public process exposed everyone — including apparently Shell itself — to the risks and harms of this project.”

Above:  Protestors march near oil refineries in Anacortes, Washington, on May 14, 2016, as part of a series of global actions calling on people to “break free” from dependence on fossil fuels.  The Shell and nearby Tesoro refineries were the targets of a three-day protest in May. Fifty-two people were arrested and charged with criminal trespass for blocking BNSF Railway lines.  (Photo credit:  Scott Terrell of the Skagit Valley Herald)  

Read more about the action here:

San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission Rejects P66 Proposal

BY CYNTHIA LAMBERT, San Luis Obispo Tribune (October 5, 2016)

To a standing ovation by opponents of Phillips 66 Co.’s oil-by-rail plan, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission voted Wednesday to reject the project that had gained statewide attention.

Commissioner Eric Meyer read an impassioned five-page statement explaining his opposition, including the need to move away from fossil fuels and the massive opposition the project has garnered statewide.



Oil tanker berthed at Rodeo P66 refinery suspected as source of oil spill in San Pablo Bay

Oil spill containment booms oil tanker Yamuna Spirit Phillips 66 Refinery Rodeo

Oil spill containment booms surround an oil tanker the Yamuna Spirit docked at a marine terminal belonging to Phillips 66 Refinery on San Pablo Bay in Rodeo, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)

On Tuesday night, the Vallejo Fire Department received more than 800 calls from residents complaining of a strong smell of natural gas, gasoline and rotten eggs. An estimated 120 patients went to Solano County hospitals, with complaints of headaches, nausea and dizziness, according to the Solano County Health Department.   The tanker, now surrounded by hazmat booms,  was involved  in  spill in Nigeria in February.

  • Karina Loffee of the East Bay Times first broke the story (Weds, Sept 21st):


  • KQED followed up the next day and in this post gives a time line of events and an update on the investigation (Thursday, Sept. 22)


  • CBS also tracked the story:  Public frustrated with lack of information regarding the oil spill (Thursday, Sept. 22)


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.”



Rail industry wants to cut brake inspections by half

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, September 19, 2016

Posted by Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineer and Trainmentrains-and-tanks


The Association of American Railroads (AAR) petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for a waiver that would allow freight trains to travel up to 2,600 miles between mandatory air brake inspections instead of the current industry standard of 1,500 miles.

San Luis Obispo Hearing on Phillips 66 oil-by-rail plan continues to April

hearing room

By Cynthia Lambert, San Luis Obispo Tribune (March 11, 2016)

On March 11, after listening to more than 400 public speakers over four days on the controversial proposal, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission began deliberating  on Phillips 66 Co.’s plan to upgrade its refinery to receive Tar Sands crude oil by rail.  The ultimate destination after first minimally processing it in SLO County?  Rodeo.

But Planning Commissioner Jim Irving said Phillips 66 may not get a final decision on its project for five years because it may face challenges over both state and federal laws. “This is going to go from us to (county) supervisors, to the Coastal Commission, to the Supreme Court.”
Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article65463482.html#storylink=cpy