WHEN: September 21, 2014 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Lake Merritt Boulevard Oakland, CA USA
COST: Free


As the United Nations prepares to debate how to reduce carbon pollution
and greenhouse gases that pose a dire threat to all humanity, the largest
climate action group in the country,, headed by Bill McKibben, is
preparing for a historic UN mobilization of environmental activists
across the U.S.
Hundreds of thousands are expected to converge in NYC and thousands
more in many cities including Oakland on September 21st to press
for immediate measures to halt and reverse this 
catastrophic threat
to humanity and to demand:

  •  A global agreement to dramatically and rapidly reduce global warming pollution
  • A world with an economy that works for people and the planet
  • A world safe from the ravages of climate change
  • A world with good jobs, clean air & water, peace & justice & a healthy environment


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘Time is not on our side’ says World Meteorological Organization chief

It’s not too late to prevent dangerous climate change and preserve the planet for future generations, but it may soon be, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

The organization is supporting the Climate Summit convened by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York on 23 September with initiatives that underscore the need for international action to tame rapid climate change.

The Summit will serve as a platform for government, finance, business and civil society leaders to announce plans to reduce emissions and mobilize political will for a global agreement in Paris in December 2015 to limit the world to a less than 2-degree Celsius rise in global temperature.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Valero’s Promise to Benicia: We’ll only have an environmental disaster once every 111 years.

By Diane Bailey   September 17, 2014

Actually, that’s kind of worrisome, especially considering that if you don’t experience that disaster yourself, your kids probably will.  This is one of the many absurd elements showing Valero’s cavalier attitude toward public safety in the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for its proposed crude by rail project, for which public comments were due this week.  The hazard analysis in this report is also a serious underestimate, according to the State among many others: The California Public Utilities Commission notes the serious failure of Valero to address the “potential for tragic consequences of crude oil tank car ruptures” from its proposed Crude by Rail Project.

casselton ND 12 30 13-thumb-500x333-17302

(Casselton, North Dakota, Crude Oil Train Derailment, Dec.30th, 2013)

This dangerous crude project is so riddled with problems that many communities up-rail are now voicing serious concern.  The City of Sacramento highlights the high concentration of people around the rail freight lines (“more than 147,000 City residents live within ½ mile”) serving the “Valero Benicia refinery [which] is one of two California refineries that are in the process of securing permits to build rail terminals to import Canadian tar sands and Bakken crude oils.” (emphasis added)  And the City of Davis suggests that the “highest levels of protection [be implemented] before disasters such as hazardous material releases and explosions occur [so that] we can avoid having such disasters in the first place.”

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Help Needed to Ban Fracking in San Benito County! Bay Area location for phone banking

We urgently need you to phone bank to voters in San Benito County to get the Yes vote for Measure J to ban fracking:
When: Tuesday, September 23, 2014
6:30pm to 8:30pm
Where: Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter office,
2530 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley
frackGrassroots activists are waging a hard-fought battle to win Measure J to ban fracking in their county. They are faced with oil industry’s millions that have buried voters with TV and radio ads (even on Pandora), mailers, and paid professional canvassers to defeat Measure J. This barrage has confused voters and only one-on-one contact at the door or on the phone can clear up the confusion and get our message out.

Can you join us in phone banking on Sept. 23?

Why you should be concerned: Two years in a row oil industry money killed statewide ban frackmoratorium bills. Oil money has pressured local elected officials to vote down local ordinances or even reverse their votes after passage. When the governor, our state legislators, and local elected can’t protect us, the last recourse is voters taking matters into their own hands and ban fracking through the ballot measure process. If San Benito wins, it will spark a movement of cities and counties using the ballot initiative to ban fracking. If the oil industry wins, it will be a major setback to the anti-fracking movement in California. We can’t let this happen. With your help we can win Measure J.

If you can join us, please RSVP to

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘What will you do for rail safety?’ – Letter to the City Council from North Dakota

In 9/16/14 Martinez Gazette:

Councilmember and Vice-Mayor:

You have been previously informed that the explosive part of the Bakken oil trains problem has a solution. It needs to be “stabilized” before shipping, and the ND Industrial Commission has the power to require the Bakken oil producers to do this.

Why you are not screaming about this from the rooftops to the media, and to the NDIC, I have no idea.

If you don’t believe me, do your own due diligence, and then do your job to protect your citizens.

A refresher:

Years ago, Bakken oil producers made a business decision to not strip all of the NGLs from the crude before shipping, AKA “stabilization.” They deliberately chose not to remove all heptane, pentane, methane, propane, butane, ethane, isobutane and so on, from the crude oil, before filling the tanker cars.

They make more money if they ship it all. That’s why it explodes during derailments.

They neglected to install the proper equipment and build the infrastructure needed to separate, collect, store and distribute the NGLs. Just like they neglected to do the same for the natural gas. That’s why western ND looks like a birthday cake at a retirement home at night.

Bakken oil trains from North Dakota can be rendered NON-explosive before they hit the rails, if they remove the NGLs, but the ND Industrial Commission hasn’t, and won’t, require it (stabilization) of the crude because it would cost the oil companies money.

The governor, who chairs the commission, has had ND emergency agencies practice for 60 deaths, in the event of a derailment/explosion, in Bismarck or Fargo, but refuses to fix the problem at its root.

The taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill to prepare for the next Lac-Megantic. This bill belongs to the oil companies.

What will you do to force the ND Industrial Commission to mandate “stabilization” (not “conditioning”) and protect the lives of hundreds of thousands of your citizens that live, work, or play by the tracks?

– Ron Schalow; Fargo, N.D.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Garamendi introduces bill to block federal funds for twin tunnels proposal

Vacaville Reporter   09/12/2014

WASHINGTON D.C. >> Legislation has been introduced to block federal money from going to the twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Congressman John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, this week joined Congressmen Jerry McNerney, D-Antioch, and Ami Bera, D-Sacramento, in introducing legislation that would prohibit Fiscal Year 2015 federal funds from being used for California’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan, which includes what Garamendi calls “the twin tunnels boondoggle.”

Gov. Jerry Brown has requested $4 billion from the federal government to help implement the BDCP.

“California’s woefully inadequate water infrastructure definitely needs more federal investment, but the twin tunnels are a boondoggle and poor use of taxpayer dollars. Investments in water conservation, recycling, and storage are needed across the state,” Garamendi said in a press release. “Instead of reigniting the California water war, let’s build consensus and invest in the priorities that create more reliable water for the entire state. We can increase supply without destroying the Delta or undermining water rights

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Report: Fossil Fuel Production Subsidies Exceed $21 Billion Annually in United States

David Turnbull, July 9, 2014

Fossil fuel subsidies have increased by 45% under “All of the Above” energy policy

A new report released today by Oil Change International exposes over $21 billion in fossil fuel production subsidies annually in the U.S. at the federal and state levels.

report-cover-230x300The report, entitled “Cashing in on All of the Above: U.S. Fossil Fuel Production Subsidies under Obama,” outlines the wide array of subsidies going to the industry amidst a deepening climate crisis being spurred by continued fossil fuel extraction and production. In total, the report catalogs over $37 billion in U.S. federal and state support for the fossil fuel industry in 2013.

The report focuses on exploration and production subsidies because these subsidies are tied to the All of the Above energy policy in the U.S., and because they are completely incompatible with climate science that clearly shows that most existing fossil fuel reserves need to be left underground.

Much of the increase in the value of fossil fuel production subsidies in the U.S. can be attributed to the increase in oil and gas production in recent years, the report finds. In particular, federal fossil fuel production and exploration subsidies in the US have grown in value by 45 percent since President Obama took office in 2009.

“While scientists implore world leaders to leave fossil fuels in the ground to avoid a climate catastrophe, our analysis has found that billions upon billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are going to digging ourselves a bigger climate hole every year,“ said David Turnbull, Campaigns Director of Oil Change International. “Rather than putting down the shovel, our government is using even more taxpayer dollars to buy a backhoe.”

Shakuntala Makhijani, the report’s author and a Researcher at Oil Change International, added, “The science is clear that at least two-thirds of proven fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate impacts – it is time for the U.S. government to show leadership and immediately end the massive subsidies that encourage their production.”

While the Obama administration has made some attempts to reduce subsidies under its watch, the U.S. Congress, bankrolled by ever-growing campaign contributions from the industry, has completely stymied these efforts. In 2011-12, the industry spent $329 million in campaign finance contributions and received $33 billion in federal subsidies over that same period, marking a 10,000 percent return on investment for the industry.

“The All of the Above energy strategy is not only climate denial – it’s climate denial that is funded with more than $20 billion in taxpayer support each year.” said Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International. “Until our representatives in Washington and around the country find the courage necessary to put people’s interests ahead of rich polluters, this theft of our tax dollars is likely to continue. The next step for saving the climate should be clear: Stop Funding Fossils.”

The report can be found here:

Along with the release of the report, Oil Change International has unveiled a new online hub of resources regarding fossil fuel subsidies on the state, national and international levels. The hub can be found at:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Crude-by-rail: One federal inspector oversees all California’s railroad bridges, no state oversight By Matthias Gafni Contra Costa Times

By Matthias Gafni    Contra Costa Times   9/12/14

As concerns grow over aging rail infrastructure, earthquake readiness and a dramatic increase in crude oil shipments by train, state railroad regulators are scrambling to hire their first-ever railroad bridge inspectors — two of them.

Once they are hired, the California Public Utilities Commission plans to create a state railroad bridge inventory to determine which are most at risk. That’s right — neither the state nor federal government has a list of railroad bridges for California or the rest of the country. Until that happens, the safety of California’s thousands of railroad bridges — key conduits that carry people and hazardous materials over environmentally sensitive ecosystems and near urban areas — is left up to rail line owners and a single federal inspector who splits his time among 11 states.

tankers on trestles

Trains on the John Muir trestle in Martinez Photo by A. Durfee 2014











“Two more inspectors is better than none, but it’s really a Band-Aid,” said Suma Peesapati, attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental group fighting the oil rail influx. “I think there should be no crude by rail over those bridges until there’s a comprehensive look at all of them.”

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Largest terminal in California would increase air pollution in region with worst air quality in U.S.

September 9, 2014   Bakersfield, CA —

The Kern County Board of Supervisors today approved the five-fold expansion plan of Alon USA refinery’s rail terminal to receive Bakken crude oil shipments by train, paying little regard to the potentially devastating public health and safety impacts of the project.

crude-oil-train-richmond_cjb-800Following a public comment session, the board approved what would be the largest crude-by-rail terminal in California, upping capacity of the terminal from receiving 40 cars per day to 208 tank cars per day, and reopening and retooling the shuttered refinery so that it can process lighter Bakken crudes. Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law firm, speaking on behalf of a coalition of concerned groups, challenged the board’s Environment Impact Report which dismissed considerations about the safety of these trains hauling highly volatile fossil fuels over hazardous mountain passes, and ignored the impacts of the project on human health in a region that already has the worst air quality in the country.
Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



WHERE:  Benicia City Hall, 250 East L Street
WHEN: This Thursday, September 11, 2014
PACKED HOUSE: Plan to arrive between 3pm and 6 pm


At this hearing, our Planning Commissioners will be asking questions and making their own comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report. This is a very important part of the process. Please attend to hear what our Planning Commissioners have to say.
This will ALSO be the last PUBLIC comment hearing on Valero’s Draft Environmental Impact Report. If you have not spoken before, this is your last chance – you can still speak even if you have not submitted a speaker card before. And if you were at one of the last hearings and submitted your card but they didn’t get to you or you left before they could get to you, you can speak at this hearing.

 PLAN TO ATTEND.  Numbers speak!
For guidelines and suggestions on how to offer comments that are helpful to our Planning Commissioners, seeRESOURCES (  For additional background information and resources see LEARN MORE on  Another good source of information is The Benicia Independent.

Bring a friend or family member. See you THIS Thursday!  NOTE: The Crude By Rail hearing begins at 6 pm.  It will be another packed house – you will have to arrive early to get a seat.

Note also that the public WRITTEN comment period has been extended until September 15.  If you can’t make the meeting, or have already spoken, there is still time to send in written comments.  Again, see RESOURCES for help on written comments.

Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community
(707) 742-3597
facebook event page – Planning Commission Hearing

Re-posted from Benicia Independent

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment