Public Safety

Letter From Elk Hills School Superintendent in Tupman

Elk Hills School would like several safety precautions for the HECA trucking and from the project site itself.

HECA should adjust their trucking schedule when there are foggy day school delays. If HECA refuses  we will ask that no trucks travel roads in the school district boundaries at any time when visibility during the daytime is less than 300 ft as determined by the school or the Highway Patrol.

The route for waste trucks must be specified along with all other potential trucking routes. Elk Hills School requests that HECA be required to pay for an official California Air Resources
Board Monitor or Local Air District ozone and particulate monitor near the school so that accurate
information about air pollution levels locally is available and so we can keep kids indoors when
conditions dictate. The monitor should be hooked into the Real Time Air Quality Advisory Network that the air district maintains for other areas. Right now they have to rely on information from Bakersfield monitors which do not reflect local conditions.

HECA may claim to have mitigated their air pollution on a valley wide basis but the local effect from all their emissions will make the Tupman air potentially worse than with the current situation.

An emergency siren, like those near the nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispos, should be located near the school in the event of a large ammonia, CO2 or other toxic release occurring at the HECA site or on surrounding roads. This event could be from leaks, fires, explosions, or traffic accidents. The siren would tell teachers and children to immediately seek shelter in-doors.

Jeff Tensley
Elk Hills School District

Letter from Rio Bravo-Greeley School District Superintendent

I am requesting that the Rio Bravo Greeley Schoo lDistrict be added to any and all correspondence as it relates to HECA 08 AFC 8A.  I also ask that you Docket this letter.

This project has a direct impact on our School District. As you may or may not be aware we have two schools that sit on StateHighway 43. We also have busstops on this major transportation artery as well as on Highway 58 and Stockdale Highway.

In the mornings we have school busses and many parents that utilize State Highway 43 for ingress and egress into our schools. The number of trucks utilizing this route for the aforementioned project will have a major impact and could quite possibly put our students, parents and teachers in a less than safe situation.

Traffic lights at the intersection of Kratzmeyer and StateHighway 43 as well as turning lanes may not be enough to minimize a potentially dangerous situation for our constituents.

I highly recommend that an alternate route which would minimize the exposure of our students be considered. Our elected Board of Trustees are very concerned and may well choose to go on record opposing this project. We will be present to express our concerns at the next public meeting in regards to this project.

I am also concerned about the air quality and the monitoring of air in our area. It would alleviate some concern if we had a way of knowing if excessive ammonia, C02, or any other hazardous condition were to exist.

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss this further please contact my office at the numbers below. Our concern is the safety of our 1000 + students and their families.

Ernie D. Unruh
Superintendent/Rio Bravo-Greeley Union School District

Letter from Buttonwillow School

During the past few months it has become apparent that the HECA project in Kern County has been a lightning rod for both opponents and proponents. As the Superintendent of Buttonwillow Union School District I am in a position that is focused on the safety of our students.

There are a myriad of reasons for our district to have questions about the project and its impact on our community and most importantly the children. Among these concerns and their impact on our school we are chiefly concerned about the number of trucks that may well utilize Highway 58 running east and west, and the use of Buttonwillow Drive that runs north south. Our school is bordered on two of our four sides by this state highway and local road. Highway 58 is already a main thoroughfare for other industries and is heavily traveled. We have already been working with the California Highway Patrol and local politicians to resolve some of the problems created by the design and location of this two lane highway that runs through our town. We are also concerned that Buttonwillow Drive, which is a local road that travels north south and sees over 60% of the student population crossing this road, may well become an outlet for the trucks associated with this project. For these two reasons alone it is a safety concern.

Our buses begin to roll as early as 6:45 and return as late as 3:30. This makes transportation a very large concern as well. Our busses have had to wait up to 6 minutes at times to cross Highway 58, where additional trucks during these times may well make it more unsafe as well as more difficult to cross the highway.

Additionally, beyond the transportation issues, the air quality in our area is among some of the worst in the valley. With these concerns we would like to see efforts made that will eliminate some of the concerns in this area. This could be done by providing monitoring stations in Buttonwillow that would give an accurate measurement of any harmful particulates that may potentially impact our students.

Because of these major concerns I am requesting that we be added to the mailing list for all correspondences related to this project. Additionally, I would like to request that this email be added to the docket that relates to the project.

Your assistance in this area will be helpful to our school board as everyone moves forward in the process of potentially bringing the HECA Project to a point of operation.
Please feel free to contact me with any further questions.

J. Stuart Packard
Buttonwillow Union SchoolDistrict

City of Shafter Concerns

The City of Shafter is concerned with the following in the PSA/DEIS for the proposed Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) Project:

The PSA/DEIS and Traffic Study Technical Memorandum (Revision 2) for the proposed Hydrogen Energy California Project fails to identify and analyze the project’s potential significant impacts on traffic, congestion, and safety hazards at the intersection of Highway 43 and Los Angeles Avenue in the City of Shafter. The PSA/DEIS identifies the Highway 43 intersections at Shafter Avenue, Central Avenue, and LerdoHighway but not at Los Angeles Avenue. The intersection is not signalized and is located adjacent on the west side of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad. Los Angeles Avenue crosses the BNSF at grade. Beech Avenue connects to Los Angeles Avenue adjacent on the eastside of the BNSF. Santa Fe Way connects to the intersection from the south. The Traffic Study Technical Memorandum (Revision 2) correctly illustrates the configuration of the intersection but does not identify it as such.

The Highway 43/Los Angeles Avenue intersection is very congested during am and pm peak hours. The combination of the intersection’s close proximity to the BNSF and congestion creates a safety hazard for vehicles at the intersection and crossing the BNSF. Several years ago, a train hit a trailertruck that was unable to drive through the subject intersection. Train/vehicular collisions have occurred adjacent to the other City of Shafter intersections identified in the PSA/DEIS.

For the Highway 43/Los Angeles Avenue intersection, the level of service and safety hazard issues need to be identified and analyzed in the HECA PSA/DEIS. The subject PSA/DEIS also needs to identify and describe the size, weight, and operation of the trucks that are proposed for the HECA project. This information is vital forthe City of Shafter to adequately analyze the potential significant impacts of the project. Even during non-peak hours the proposed project
may create safety hazards for all of theHighway 43 intersections in the City of Shafter.

Table 7 on page 4.11‐21 of the PSA/DEIS identifies 2,906 peak daily trips from the project. Page 1‐41 of the PSA/DEIS executive summary reports additional truck trips may be added by the proposal. Until all ofthe proposed truck trips are identified, the truck types described, and all of the Highway 43 intersections in the City of Shafter adequately identified and analyzed, the City of
Shafter will not be able to adequately assess the potential significant impacts of the project.

The PSA/DEIS identifies a number of unresolved issues related to project water use. The PSA/DEIS states “staff proposes to investigate in more detail alternative cooling options in the FSA/FEIS. The City of Shafter will address project water use at the time the investigation into alternative cooling options is reported by staff in the FSA/FEIS.

The City of Shafter greatly appreciatesthe opportunity to comment on the proposedHydrogen Energy California (HECA) Project PSA/DEIS.

Wayne Clausen, Planning Director
City of Shafter Community Development Department
336 Pacific Avenue
Shafter, California 93263

Letter From the Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District about Water and Traffic Concerns

The Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District (SWID) serves approximately 37,500 acres in the area surrounding Wasco and Shafter. SWID has agreements for water banking with the North Kern Water Storage District and the Semitropic Water Storage District. Changes to water usage in the Kern County sub-basin can have indirect effects on water supply for SWID growers.

There is no doubt without question the KernCounty sub-basin is in a water overdraft situation. This past year the overdraft has been more severe than average and many SWID growers have had to lower pumps because of a precipitous drop in the water table levels. Others have had to dig new wells at great expense for the same reason.

In this light, SWID agrees with the CEC mitigation requirement or Condition of Certification Water-3, which requires the project owner to develop and implement a Water Supply Plan prior to any project construction and provide water use offset within the Kern County sub-basin that is equal to project pumping; thereby, ensuring no new net increase in groundwater consumption.

The district requested information about the route for the trucks moving coal from the unloading site in Wasco to the project location. We have not yet received any information from our letter of request dated March 14,2013.

Our shop yard and office are located on the Northeast corner of Hwy 43 and Kimberlina Road. We are also between the BNSF tracks and Hwy 43 with Wasco Avenue immediately to the East ofthe BNSF. We currently experience traffic delays entering and leaving our facility offofKimberlina Road. Train delays are also very common.

On page 4.11-24 of the PSA a table indicates that the intersections of Hwy 43 and Kimberlina Road will not experience any change in waiting time because of the coal truck traffic. It also indicates there will be no change in delay time at the intersection of Kimberlina Road and Wasco Avenue. More information to this matter would be useful. Therefore, please provide an analysis of coal truck usage routes of the Wasco Avenue, Hwy 43, and Kimberlina Road intersections. The analysis should indicate how many trucks per day will pass through each intersection and which direction they will be traveling. It should also indicate which time of day the coal trucks will be using these intersections and their frequency including information about traffic delays caused by trains, including the coal trains, as they pass through the Kimberlina Road crossing.

Something should be noted about any potential increase in diesel pollution such as soot and fine particulates from the coal trucks on facilities such as ours located adjacent to the intersections where these trucks will have to stop, turn, and start off. In addition, a noise and vibration impact analysis should be provided for the area of our office and shop (as we are located very near to these intersections and the railroad crossing).

I also suggest that you contact the High Speed Rail Authority regarding conflicts on the proposed traffic route along Wasco Avenue. The High Speed Rail Authority has proposed a potential route that will be in conflict with traffic on Wasco Way.

Thank you for consideration of our concerns.


Jerry L. Ezell, General Manager, Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District


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