Meeting in Vallejo about Tar Sands by Tanker to Rodeo P66

Vallejo is hosting a meeting to have an across-the-Carquinez discussion of the P66 Marine Terminal Expansion project. Join us to listen to knowledgeable, sharp presenters and add your voice and ideas.

September 13, Wednesday
6:30 p.m.
545 Magazine Street in Vallejo (Norman King Center)

Food will be provided! Let’s Organize to Save Lives!

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The latest oil spill’s cause found

According to an investigation by the refinery, the cause of Monday’s oil spill into the bay was an old, corroded pipe with a “pinhole” leak. The county would like to know what the refinery is doing to prevent any repeats of this in the future. The next leak may be much larger, and not discovered so quickly.

This raises serious questions about the aging infrastructure at the refinery. What would the impact of more than doubling the number of deliveries by ship be? It is known that the new deliveries would be tar sands oil from Canada.  A spill of that material would have a more costly impact on the bay than the light crude that was spilled this time. Tar sands crude is also far more corrosive than light sweet crude which would cause old pipes to leak sooner. 

Read the full story here from KQED.

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Another day, another spill



Just when the refinery is trying to get the public and the regulators to grant them the right to more than double the number of by sea deliveries of crude, a second oil spill that is clearly the fault of P66 is made in the bay. Here’s the story from KQED.

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Environmental Groups Weigh In On P66 Marine Terminal Expansion

From the Times/Herald:

A collection of six environmental groups drafted a letter to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District outlining what they hope the regulators will include in their draft Environmental Impact Report regarding the proposed tanker expansion of the Phillips 66 refinery in Rodeo.

Read the full article HERE

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Congressman Mike Thompson on Marine Expansion at P66 Video

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Phillips 66 Marine Terminal Permit Revisions

By Larnie Fox, Aug. 15, 2017

Last night I attended a Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) presentation on Phillips 66’s plan to expand their marine terminal. It was sponsored by Solano County Supervisor, Monica Brown, and held in Benicia’s City Hall. Five or six BAAQMD staff members were present, as were many members of the community and members of community organizations. Monica Brown deserves our thanks for bringing this issue to light.

The BAAQMD made a short and somewhat vague presentation. It is now soliciting public input before preparing an environmental impact report. The project would allow Phillips 66 to double the amount of tankers coming through the Bay to their refinery in Rodeo, (4½ miles upwind of us in Benicia), but they couldn’t say what kind of crude the tankers would be carrying.

In the ensuing Q & A, it became clear to everyone present that the company plans to bring in crude from the Canadian tar sands â€“ the BAAQMD staff members did not deny this. It also became apparent that taxpayers would bear much of the cost of any fires or spills.

Not all crude oils are alike. Tar sands crude is dirty, heavy, and corrosive. Because of its density, it will sink to the bottom of the Bay (and kill everything there) if it is spilled, making an effective cleanup nearly impossible. In order to ship it, it needs to be mixed with benzene and other volatile carcinogens prone to explosions and fires. It is dirty – releasing more toxins and carcinogens when processed than ordinary crude. It is considered a “sour” crude, which means it has a high sulfur content. This makes it more likely to corrode tanks, pipes, and oil tankers – leading to leaks and explosions.

I was very disappointed to see that BAAQMD staff were acting as apologists for big oil in our City Hall. Their mission is to protect our air, not to protect the profits of Phillips 66.

Most of the oil refined here will be shipped to Asia. The cost in terms of the environment and our health is not worth it. California now produces one-third of its electric power from wind and solar. Electric cars are becoming affordable; many homes have solar panels on them where they can charge their new electric cars. As we enter the age of clean fuels, we are free to move away from fossil fuels, and their associated environmental catastrophes.

I don’t aspire to be an activist. I am a working artist, and I would much rather be in my studio. Perhaps you don’t aspire to be an activist either, but what Phillips 66 is proposing is an unacceptable threat to all downwind of it and will contribute to climate change and environmental degradation. It requires a concerted effort to stop it, now.

What to do:

  • Contact the BAAQMD before August 28 with your views on the Phillips 66 project. The email they provided for this purpose is<>.
  • Contact your elected officials, local, state and national, and urge them to ask the BAAQMD to deny the project. [Editor: Find Your Elected Officials
  • Post information about the project on social media and write letters to editors.


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Tar Sands to P66 by sea? July 27 meeting

P66 Marine Terminal Expansion Scoping Meeting, July 27

This is from the Sunflower Alliance

Phillips 66 has applied for Air District permission to launch what clearly looks like yet another tar sands project.  There will be another opportunity to comment about the scope and content of the draft Environmental Impact Report in a July 27th meeting scheduled by the Air District for Vallejo, given potential impacts on that city.  A September 2016 oil spill in San Pablo Bay sent 120 Vallejo residents to the hospital and caused 1500 noxious odor complaints.  The BAAQMD subsequently found Phillips 66 and the operator of the leaking oil tanker equally responsible.

You can read the Notice of Preparation here in order to tell the Air District what you think should be covered in an analysis of the impacts of P66’s latest attempt to expand its tar sands refining.  Please weigh in with written comments.

According to the Air District project description, this P66 wharf expansion “would increase the amount of crude and gas oil brought by ship to the Marine Terminal at the Phillips 66 San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo, California.  The refinery processes crude oil delivered by ship from a variety of domestic and foreign sources to the Marine Terminal, as well as crude oil received from central California by pipeline.”

The marine terminal expansion would enable P66 to receive and process higher rates of ship-delivered crude and gas oil, replacing roughly equivalent volumes of pipeline-delivered crudes with shipborne crudes.

Two prior Air District approvals allowed P66 to increase its permitted limits from 30,682 barrels per day (bbl/day) in 2012, to 51,182 bbl/day in 2013.  Now P66 seeks a permit increase of 78,818 bbl/day to 130,000 bbl/day, on an annual rolling average basis.  It also wants to increase crude or gas oil deliveries from 59 ships up to a total of 135 tankers or ships in any 12 consecutive months.

The Notice of Preparation isn’t as heavy a slog as you might think.  Please read it carefully and suggest areas of significant impact that the DEIR must cover.

Here are some useful comments on marine impacts of a tar sands spill:
Baykeeper Comments on Phillips 66 Marine Terminal Permit Revision Project
NAS 2015 Dilbit Study Final
Green et al. – 2017 – Oil sands and the marine environment current know


Thursday, July 27, 5:00 – 7:00 PM

City Council Chambers
555 Santa Clara St.




Barry Young, Senior Advanced Projects Advisor
Engineering Division
Bay Area Air Quality Management District
375 Beale St., Ste. 600
San Francisco, CA 94105

Email:  P66MarineTerminalPermit Revision[at]

For more information, contact Barry Young: byoung[at]


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Reactions to the San Luis Obispo Decision (Video)

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San Luis Obispo Rejects Oil Train Project

A major part of the grand plan surreptitiously linked to the local Phillips 66 “Propane recovery project” has been rejected. After years of debate and testimony by citizens across the state, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission today voted 3-2 to deny the sister plant the expansion necessary to bring in three 1 mile long oil tank trains a week to that refinery. It feeds our local refinery semi refined crude oil by pipeline from the southland.  We believe the heavily diluted and extremely volatile crude that was to be delivered was a key piece of our local refinery’s Propane project that was passed by our county supervisors and is being contested in court. It may be that without this source of Tar Sands oil, the propane project will be dropped.  We shall see.

Here is a press release from

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif.— The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission today voted to reject Phillips 66’s proposed oil train facility in Nipomo. The decision comes after a nearly three-year review process, with more than 20,000 Californians opposing the project, as well as more than 45 cities, counties, and school boards sending letters urging the planning commission to deny it.

This decision comes on the heels of the Benicia City Council’s rejection Tuesday night of a similar project proposed for Valero’s Benicia refinery. The Benicia denial came only hours after the federal Surface Transportation Board issued an order upholding the city’s authority to deny Valero’s project. The board’s ruling — which rejects the claim that local governments are preempted by federal law and lack the authority to deny hazardous projects slated for their communities — also applies to San Luis Obispo County, where Phillips 66 has made similar arguments.

If built the Phillips 66 oil trains terminal would allow more than 7 million gallons of crude oil to be shipped via rail to its local refinery each week. The project would make it possible for Phillips 66 to refine volatile and carbon-intensive tar sands crude from Canada and elsewhere in the United States. Tar sands crude, when prepared for transport, is thinned with an unstable blend of chemicals have been known to explode in derailment incidents, which have become increasingly frequent in recent years.

As evidenced by the 10 oil train explosions in the United States over the past two years — and the tragic explosion that killed 47 in Lac-Mégantic, Canada — similar trains in California would place communities’ health, safety, and environment at serious risk. Trains servicing the Phillips 66 project would have traveled from the north and south through hundreds of major California cities and smaller communities, including Los Angeles, Sacramento, Davis, Berkeley, Oakland and San Jose. These trains also would have jeopardized numerous ecologically sensitive areas including the San Francisco Bay and California’s iconic central coast.

Public interest groups released the following statements:

“The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission listened to the people of this community, who overwhelmingly oppose this oil trains project. Our community is ready to move beyond dangerous oil projects and towards a clean energy economy that works for all of us. Should this project be appealed, we expect the Board of Supervisors to follow the Planning Commission’s lead and reject this project once and for all.”
— Heidi Harmon, SLO Stop Oil Trains Campaign

“Today is a milestone in our struggle to defeat the Phillips 66 oil train terminal project.  The majority of Planning Commissioners, paying heed both to the recommendations of their Staff as well as the thousands of SLO County citizens who oppose the project, voted to deny it. The fact that the Boards of Supervisors of every coastal county between San Francisco and Los Angeles was also opposed to the project played an important role as well. The County Board of Supervisors will next consider and vote on the project which turns the focus on the North County District One race between candidates Steve Martin and John Peschong.”
— Charles Varni, SLO County Surfrider

“Today’s vote is a great victory for the people of San Luis Obispo and California, as well as for the planet. This victory demonstrates the people power of communities all around the state who organized and participated in the public process to defeat this ill-conceived and dangerous project. Kudos also to the local residents who refused to be intimidated by a huge and politically powerful corporation that wanted to put profits before community safety.”
— Andrés Soto, Organizer, Communities for a Better Environment

“The people of California owe eternal thanks to the San Luis Obispo Department of Planning and the County Planning Commission. If Phillips 66 chooses to appeal this decision, millions will be watching the board of supervisors to see if they will choose to uphold state environmental law and the county’s general plan, or disregard the judgment of their own commissioners, the advice of county planners and the overwhelming will of the people.”
— Ethan Buckner, Extreme Oil Campaigner,

“The planning commission’s decision is a huge victory for the people of San Luis Obispo and all across California. We can all breathe a huge sigh of relief that, at least for now, Phillips 66 will not be allowed to put our communities, water and wildlife at risk from oil train explosions and fires and toxic air pollution. We applaud the planning commission for standing up to the oil industry and putting the health and safety of their constituents first.”
— Valerie Love, Clean Energy Campaigner, Center for Biological Diversity

“This project, wisely rejected by county authorities, is another example of how Big Oil wants the American people to shoulder the risk for crude oil transport — whether an exploding train or a leaking pipeline — while the dirty polluters rake in the profits. Ultimately, the best way to safeguard our air and water, our communities, and our families is to speed up the transition to clean energy prosperity and keep dirty, dangerous fuels like tar sands crude in the ground.”
— Andrew Christie, Chapter Director, Sierra Club Santa Lucia Chapter

“The Planning Commission deserves credit for listening to all the evidence, the powerful denial recommendation from their staff and the outpouring of community opposition and for denying this dangerous project,” said Linda Krop, Chief Counsel for the Environmental Defense Center.  “This was the right decision and the only possible decision if the goal is to keep our communities and environment safe.”
— Linda Krop, Chief Counsel, Environmental Defense Center.

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CBE v P66 regarding Propane Recovery Project in Martinez court

There will be a Conference regarding the “Propane Recover Project” tomorrow in county court in Martinez.  It is not a place for public comment.

WHEN:  Wednesday, August 26th at 1:45PM

Wakefield Taylor Courthouse
725 Court Street
Martinez, CA 94553

IN:   Department 17 before the Honorable Judge Barry Goode

WHAT:  CBE v. Contra Costa County and Phillips 66 Company.

CBE challenges the County’s improper certification of the EIR for this tar sands crude by rail project, disguised as the “Propane Recovery Project.”

Two other parties, the Rodeo Citizens Association, and Safe Fuel and Energy Resources, California, have filed similar lawsuits, also challenging the project.

Case Management Conference where each party will present their case to Judge Goode.

Members of the public are welcome to attend.  Although there is no opportunity to offer public comment, this is perhaps the one time in the judicial process that each party will present its case in a succinct way (30-45 minutes each).  If you do decide to attend, please observe courtroom decorum.


Download (PDF, 334KB)

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