Settlement Wins Protections at Bakersfield Oil Train Terminal

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. March 4, 2019— Community and environmental groups reached a settlement with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Bakersfield Crude Terminal and Plains All American that will reduce air emissions and increase safety at the largest crude-by-rail terminal operating in California.

This settlement of a 2015 lawsuit requires the Bakersfield Crude Terminal in Taft, Calif. to use safer tank cars, swap some diesel equipment for electrical equipment or offset nitrogen oxide emissions, cease unnecessary engine idling of onsite equipment and increase monitoring for flammable or toxic air pollutants.

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“Safer tank cars rolling on our rails and less diesel emissions will help protect the low-income communities of color that are being impacted every day by the transport of fossil fuels,” said Andres Soto, an organizer with Communities for a Better Environment.

In 2014 the air district approved permits for the Bakersfield Crude Terminal to construct an oil water separator and sump system to collect oily water runoff from the facility. Up to two 100-car trains per day can be processed by the terminal.

The lawsuit brought by Communities for a Better Environment, and by Earthjustice on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, the Association of Irritated Residents, Stand and Sierra Club, challenged the air district’s permits.

“The San Joaquin Valley region has the highest rate of childhood asthma in the state,” said Maya Golden-Krasner, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This agreement will help curb diesel pollution and these improvements will go a long way in protecting communities along the rail lines.”

“These safeguards represent a victory for Californians by improving the safety and reducing the potential impact of crude-by-rail to the environment and the community,” said Gordon Nipp, Vice-Chair of the Sierra Club Kern-Kaweah Chapter.

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