The letter asserts that Benicia’s Planning Commission and City Council have every right to deny a land permit for Valero’s Proposed Crude by Rail offloading rack.
“For Benicia to turn a blind eye to the most serious of the Project’s environmental impacts, merely because they flow from federally-regulated rail operations, would be contrary to both state and federal law.”
“City Staff has asserted that Benicia is “legally prohibited” from denying the Project based on the rail-related impacts disclosed in the Revised Draft EIR. Valero agrees with City Staff, asserting, ‘the City Council’s hands are, in effect, tied by the law of federal preemption.’
“We disagree that the City is prohibited from considering the Project’s eleven significant and unavoidable rail-related environmental impacts when exercising its local land use authority.
“Where, as here, an oil company proposes a project that is not subject to STB regulation and over which a public agency retains discretionary permitting authority, it would be a prejudicial abuse of discretion for that agency not to consider all of the project’s foreseeable impacts in exercising its authority."
You can read the whole letter here.