St. Charles Herald-Guide

Bill would prevent transportation of hazardous materials down Apple Street

Kyle Barnett - May 6, 2013

A bill that would prevent the transport of hazardous materials along Apple Street in Norco has passed the State Senate.

SB217, authored by Gary Smith (D–Norco), passed the Senate in a unanimous 32-0 vote and will now be taken up in the house by Rep. Greg Miller (R–Norco).

The Apple Street corridor between River Road and Airline Highway has long been utilized as a transportation route for semis carrying hazardous materials to and from local plants.

Norco Civic Association President Sal Digirolamo said he has worked on getting the legislation passed for seven years.

"Apple Street is mostly residential, a lot of the homes are close to the road and some are five or ten feet from the street. If we had any kind of accident just imagine what happened if one of these gas trucks came by," he said. "You can imagine what will happen with the houses as close as they are."

Due to a low lying pipeline on River Road near the Valero refinery that did not provide enough clearance, trucks did not have the ability to take an alternate route.

"(Digirolamo) brought it too my attention that he has tried to work on that for numerous years," Rochelle Touchard, communications manager at Motiva, said.

Motiva and Valero came together last year and invested $500K each to raise the pipeline.

Miller said he does not expect any opposition in the House as Smith has already put the pieces in place for the bill to be successful.

"Sen. Smith did all of the groundwork to make sure all of the industry was on board. In fact, that was what we were waiting for. The pipeline crossing at Valero had to be raised first before this could pass," he said.

If the bill passes, all trucks carrying hazardous material will instead be routed to Prospect Avenue.

"There are only a few houses there and they arenít as close to the street," Digirolamo said.

Miller said some exceptions were made for businesses on Apple Street who must receive shipments of hazardous materials.

"There has been an exception to that put in case there are any hazardous materials, such as propane, that have to be delivered to businesses located on Apple Street," he said.

Touchard said Motiva was happy to do their part in helping the community.

"Safety is paramount, whether that be a hazardous load or non-hazardous," Touchard said. "I just think traffic going through a residential area is unnecessary unless something is being delivered down Apple to a business that helps them."