Thursday, July 23, 2015

Proposed Oil Trains Raise Concerns in San Luis Obispo

The derailment of a train carrying crude oil in Montana on Monday has intensified concerns over the safety of transporting highly toxic and explosive petroleum over the nation’s aging rail beds in antiquated tank cars. It was the fifth major accident of oil-bearing trains so far this year. Those fears have become sharply focused in San Luis Obispo County with a proposal by the Phillips 66 oil company’s proposal to bring oil trains to its refinery in Nipomo, on the central California coast. This week Jan Marx, the Mayor of the city of San Luis Obispo, came out strongly against the project, and the city council has already voted to reject it. The proposal is now under environmental review, with thousands of citizens submitting comments. In addition to the potential for derailment, the project would have numerous other negative environmental impacts, some unavoidable. The final decision will be up to the County’s board of supervisors. Pacifica’s Vic Bedoian reports from Fresno.