San Luis Obispo County residents scored a major victory when the San Luis Obispo Planning Commission voted last October to reject Phillips 66' proposal for a massive oil-by-rail facility in San Luis Obispo County. That was an epic win, but the fight is not over as the next step is the SLO County Board of Supervisors meeting. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 13 - Friday, March 17, but it will last as long as it takes to get through public comment. Folks are mobilizing around the state to be there for the start of the meeting on the 13th. We will be helping folks find carpools. Just let us know you can be there.
SOME BACKGROUND: Phillips 66 is seeking approval to build a 1.3-mile rail spur from its Nipomo Mesa refinery (in southwestern San Luis Obispo County) to the main rail line so it can receive crude oil by train. The refinery now gets its crude by pipeline. The proposal calls for deliveries from three 80-car trains per week, with each train hauling about 2.2 million gallons of crude oil.
Phillips 66' Nipomo Mesa refinery receives heavy crude oil by pipeline and starts processing it, then it sends it by pipeline to its facility in Rodeo (in the Bay Area) where processing is finished.
The rail line leading to the Nipomo Mesa refinery cuts through heavily-populated areas. Phillip 66 will likely be importing Canadian tar sands oil as well as Bakken crude which is fracked in North Dakota and which is much more highly flammable than traditional crudes. Any rail mishap could spell disaster.
Rail incidents involving crude oil went up sixteenfold between 2010 and 2014. Check out this graph from Mother Jones:
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