Corps may dredge San Francisco Bay for oil tankers

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Posted July 2, 2019

Environmental and public interest groups have filed letters with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, strongly objecting to plans to dredge and deepen San Francisco Bay for oil tankers, Kallanish Energy has learned.

The plan by the Corps calls for a 13-mile-long dredging project to make it easier for tankers to move crude to and from Bay area refineries in northern California.

Dredging would allow for a deeper channel to allow tankers to load more oil while navigating through the bay.

The plan is outlined in a federal draft Environmental Impact Statement completed by the Corps. The project calls for deepening the channel from 35 feet to 38 feet deep in parts of the bay.

The area to be dredged stretches from the central part of the bay to just east of the Benicia-Martinez Bridge. The dredging could coincide with the plans of refineries to process more Canadian tar sands crude in coming years. The project would also enable the port of Stockton to export coal to Asia.

What the Trump administration is proposing is in effect a federal subsidy for the four refineries along San Francisco Bay, opponents said, in a joint statement.

The project would create additional carbon dioxide emissions and other air pollution and would greatly increase the threat of oil spills, critics said.