5/12/15 – Last night, the Martinez Unified School District took a strong stand against the explosive Bakken crude-by-rail that is currently allowed to travel through Martinez. Acknowledging that there are five Martinez public schools within the one-mile “blast zone,” the School Board unanimously supported a resolution that:
- opposes on principle the transport of hazardous Bakken crude-by-rail;
- calls on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to rescind the permit allowing these highly volatile trains to unload at the Richmond Kinder Morgan facility;
- calls on Tesoro to cease the transport of this highly volatile commodity through Martinez by train or truck.
Over the past year, Bakken trains have been travelling on the BNSF rail line from Stockton to Richmond several times a month. Although the trains have been on hold due to low crude prices, recent price per barrel increases suggest the trains could resume at any time. These are the same trains that have derailed, exploded and burned for days elsewhere in the country; the most recent incident was less than a week ago in North Dakota. Despite the clear danger, the BAAQMD permit allowing these trains to unload at the Kinder Morgan rail yard was issued “ministerially;” that is, without any public hearing or notice whatsoever.
The Martinez school board’s decision last night is the most significant action ever taken here in Martinez by an elected official on the issue of crude-by-rail, despite extensive advocacy by local residents. The resolution is available here: