Friday, July 20 , 2018, 10:09 am | Overcast 66º

 
 
 
 

San Luis Supervisors Deny Phillips 66’s Oil Trains Project

The San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors voted recently to reject Phillips 66’s proposed oil train off-loading terminal. The project was denied with a 3-1 vote, with one supervisor recusing himself in a conflict of interest.

Phillips 66 had appealed the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission decision to reject their controversial oil train project in October, which came after a nearly three-year review process.

More than 25,000 Californians have opposed the project in comments and petitions, and more than 45 cities, counties, and school boards have sent letters urging the county to deny the crude-by-rail proposal.

The Board of Supervisors' denial was the second community victory in less than a week, after a Superior Court judge ruled that Phillips’ legal challenge to the earlier Planning Commission decision was premature.

If built, the Phillips 66 oil trains terminal would have allowed more than 7 million gallons of crude oil to be shipped via rail to its local refinery each week, and made it possible for Phillips 66 to refine volatile and carbon-intensive tar sands crude from Canada.

Tar sands crude, when prepared for transport, is thinned with an unstable blend of chemicals that have been known to explode in derailment incidents, which have become increasingly frequent in recent years.

Trains servicing the Phillips 66 project would have traveled from the north and south through hundreds of major California cities and smaller communities, including Los Angeles, Sacramento, Davis, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Jose.

These trains also would have jeopardized numerous ecologically sensitive areas including the San Francisco Bay and California's iconic Central Coast.

“We applaud the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors for considering all the evidence, listening to concerned citizens throughout the State, and denying this dangerous project,” said Linda Krop, chief counsel for the Environmental Defense Center.

“The board’s action was the right decision and the only possible decision if the goal is to keep our communities and environment safe,”
she said.

San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon said, “I am so glad to see the supervisors stand with the people in this community and beyond by denying this dangerous, city and detrimental project.

"The San Luis Obispo City Council has had a consistent stance against this project and for the renewable energy future we need. This genie fits perfectly into the city’s major city goal of putting action into our Climate Action Plan," she said.

— Betsy Weber for Environmental Defense Center.

 

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