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San Luis Obispo City Council opposes Phillips 66 oil train project 

The San Luis Obispo City Council decided Tuesday night to oppose the Santa Maria Phillips 66 rail spur project, which could bring mile-long oil trains carrying 2.5 million gallons of crude nearly every day through San Luis Obispo. The council directed city staff to write a letter to the county opposing the Phillips 66 project.

oil trainThis vote comes on the heels of Monday’s massive train accident, in which an oil train derailed and caught fire in Fayette County, W.V., destroying a house, forcing the evacuation of two nearby communities, and threatening municipal drinking water supplies.

“With the latest derailments and catastrophic explosions, it’s time to rethink our energy infrastructure,” said Larry Shinderman, local resident of Nipomo, California, who lives next to the Phillips 66 refinery. “The health and safety and the economic vibrancy of San Luis Obipso is more important than pandering to the special interests of the Phillips shareholders.”

“This project is a threat to me and 18,000 of my fellow students at Cal Poly,” said Hailey Baker, student at Cal Poly State University. “The trains would go right by my classrooms and the Cal Poly stadium – it’s irresponsible to approve such a dangerous project.”

With a 40-fold increase in crude-by-rail since 2008, derailments and spills have also been on a steep rise. In 2013 more crude oil was spilled from trains than in the previous four decades combined, and in 2014 there were more oil train accidents than in any other year on record.

In voting to oppose the Santa Maria Phillips 66 rail spur, San Luis Obispo joins cities and counties all along the rail route that have passed resolutions and sent letters against the project, including San Jose, Davis, Berkeley, Oakland, Moorpark, Oxnard, Camarillo, Alameda County, and Ventura County. More than 22,000 people from across California have also voiced opposition to the project.

“We’re seeing massive opposition to this project from citizens all along the rail route — and with good reason,” said Valerie Love with the Center for Biological Diversity. “No one in their right mind would invite these dangerous bomb trains into their community.”

Source: Press release from the Center for Biological Diversity

See related story:

• Crude oil train could pass through Paso Robles

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