Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: State Objects to Refinery Oil-By-Rail Plan; PUC Replaces PG&E’s Favored Judge

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

Last year, an oil-by-rail shipment exploded in Canada, killing 47 people.
  • Last year, an oil-by-rail shipment exploded in Canada, killing 47 people.
1. State officials are objecting to a proposal by Valero Refinery in Benicia to ramp up train shipments of highly explosive crude oil through Northern California, the SacBee$ reports. California officials want the City of Benicia to redo its environmental assessment of Valero’s plan, and to include an analysis of dangers posed to communities along rail lines throughout Northern California. Last year, a train carrying explosive crude ignited in Canada, killing 47 people.

2. The California Public Utilities Commission has replaced a judge at the center of a scandal involving PG&E, the Chron reports. Earlier this month, it was disclosed that PG&E had successfully lobbied the PUC to replace two judges that PG&E didn’t like and who were overseeing a $1 billion-plus case involving the utility, and to replace them with a judge — John Wong — that PG&E favored. The PUC has now removed Wong from the case, and will soon name his replacement.

3. Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus took the highly unusual step of attending the funeral service of a man who had been shot dead by a Richmond cop, the CoCo Times$ reports. Magnus also interacted on Facebook with the family of Richard Perez — who was the first person shot fatally by Richmond police since 2007. Richmond police said Magnus and the department were attempting to improve community trust in RPD.

4. The City of Oakland will receive a $1.87 million federal grant to hire about fifteen police officers, the Trib$ reports. Mayor Jean Quan also announced that the police force will top 700 officers soon.

5. US Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning his post, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris is viewed as one of several possible replacements, the AP reports.

6. And a judge ruled that billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla must reopen Martins Beach on the Peninsula to the general public, the Chron reports. Khosla closed the beach in 2010 after he purchased land near the beach, and claimed that the beach was private — a move that surfers said violated a state law that mandates that the public have access to all beaches in California.

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