Valero’s Crude by Rail Project

Valero’s Crude by Rail Project is the culmination of nearly three years of analysis by the City of Benicia and independent experts. This simple infrastructure project gives Benicia’s refinery the ability to receive crude oil more efficiently while also boosting the local economy. The Benicia City Council will hold a series of hearings throughout the month of April for a final decision of the appeal for the Valero Crude by Rail Project. To learn more, view the video and timeline below:


February 11: The Benicia Planning Commission voted against the City staff’s recommendation and unanimously declined to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report and denied a Conditional Use Permit for Valero’s Crude by Rail Project.

February 29: Valero filed an appeal with the City of Benicia, contesting that the Planning Commission’s decisions which were based on impacts from railroad operations. Both the City’s Attorneys and Valero agree that any mitigations of impacts caused by railroad operations are preempted by federal law, and that the Commission was not allowed to deny the project based on those rail impacts.

March 15: At the City Council hearing, Valero requested a continuance of their appeal to obtain an opinion from the Surface Transportation Board (STB), the federal entity and leading authority on preemption issues. 

April 4, 6, 18*, and 19:  The City Council will accept public comment on Valero’s request to postpone further hearings until the STB responds. Once public comment has ended, the City Council will decide if they want to postpone further hearings in order to wait for the STB’s response.

*TBD by City Councilmembers