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Nation/World

May 27, 2014

Increase in oil trains raises fears

(Continued)

The disclosure caused public protests, but the company, Global Partners, says it’s following the law.

In the San Francisco Bay area, where the local air district in February issued a permit to operate a crude-by-rail project in Richmond without notice to the public or an environmental review, residents and environmental groups filed a lawsuit.

They are seeking a preliminary injunction and a suspension of the air permit, pending a full environmental review.

“We feel that we were deliberately deceived by the permitting authority,” said Andres Soto, the Richmond organizer for Communities for a Better Environment, an environmental justice group that’s a plaintiff in the case.

“The delivery of this product right next to schools, to neighborhoods, where literally you can throw a rock and hit these rail cars, presents a clear danger to literally thousands of residents,” Soto said.

The fears are shared by many in Vancouver, where officials received more than 33,000 public comments about the project — detailing feared impacts to air quality, wildlife, recreation, tribal treaty rights, and home values, among others.

After a review, state officials will make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has the final say.

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