In a letter earlier this month (published in full below), Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay called on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to revoke permits allowing the rail transport of volatile crude oil into the Kinder Morgan facility in Richmond.
The public was unaware of the shipments, which began in early February, until a media investigation exposed them, Lindsay said.
The city manager expressed safety concerns of allowing trains carrying highly flammable Bakken crude oil from North Dakota, along with Alberta tar sands. The transports have been linked to recent explosions and derailments, including one in a small town in Quebec that killed 47 people and destroying the downtown.
In Richmond, Lindsay said, the “potential blast zone of rail lines carrying Bakken crude oil through Richmond and West Contra Costa County would impact 27 schools, Kaiser Hospital, four community centers, most of the neighborhoods in Richmond, the Richmond Civic Center, the Richmond police headquarters and five of seven Richmond fire stations.”
The community impacts and the lack of a public vetting process should be enough reason for BAAQMD to revoke the permit, Lindsay argued.
BAAQMD said it, too, is concerned about the shipments, but told the Contra Costa Times the district only has jurisdiction over the transfer station, as the rail lines fall under federal jurisdiction. A spokesperson said its permit was issued properly.
Earlier this year, Richmond City Council urged Congress to halt the shipments, also citing the potential for spills or explosions.