Just say no to crude by rail

February 21, 2015
OPINION BY THE MESA REFINERY WATCH GROUP

Tuesday, the San Luis Obispo City Council officially joined a rapidly expanding list of towns, cities and counties. They’re the ones specifically opposed to Phillips 66 imposing its self-proclaimed “crude-by-rail strategy” on California and San Luis Obispo County.

After a unanimous vote, the Council sent a two-page letter (attached) to the County’s Planning Commission outlining the obvious dangers of allowing a rail terminal to be built and having hundreds of tar sands crude oil trains menacing its citizens each year.

It stated the case clearly and forcefully:

“Trains delivering crude would go right through the heart of our city. An accident would have catastrophic effects if it occurred in any populated or habitat area. Our fire fighters and emergency response or hazmat teams are not funded nor equipped to deal with the magnitude of a rail disaster.

“The council urges you to deny the application of the Phillips 66 Santa Maria Refinery in Nipomo. Reject this project and protect the health, safety and welfare of San Luis Obispo County residents.”

The list of major municipalities gets longer each week. Why? Because they recognize the outcomes of an invasion of Phillips’ oil trains.

Here’s the list of those north and south that have already officially communicated their opposition:

• Alameda County
• Berkeley
• Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board
• Camarillo
• Davis
• Moorpark
• Oakland
• Oxnard
• Richmond
• Simi Valley
• San Jose
• San Leandro Unified School District
• San Luis Obispo City
• Ventura County
• Ventura Unified School District

Therefore — this is not a “NIMBY” issue. Phillips’ plan endangers scores of cities and towns, and millions of citizens as their trains carry tar sands all the way from Canada to SLO County.

The decision to allow or disallow the rail terminal in Nipomo, and thus the oil trains, will be landmark in nature. The SLO County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors has the power to stand up to big oil and say, “keep your trains out.,” or they can open the floodgates. The nation is watching.

This story is happening now. The decision will be made soon.

The Mesa Refinery Watch Group is a group of people opposed to the Nipomo rail spur project.

About Martinez Environmental Group

We are a community health and environmental group located in Martinez, CA.
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