Oil trains today are very dangerous. The crude oil they are transporting from North Dakota and Canada is especially flammable and explosive.
The “blast zone” is within 1 mile of the tracks. Because these trains are so long and heavy and numerous, derailments and explosions and fires are dramatically on the rise.
At least 14 California cities including San Jose, Berkeley, Oakland and San Luis Obispo, oppose oil trains.
If Phillips 66 is given a permit from San Luis Obispo County to expand its refinery on the Nipomo Mesa, at least five of these trains will be passing through these communities every week.
I just learned, because of something called “federal preemption,” these cities can’t tell the railroad companies what to do or what not to do. Only the federal government can regulate the railroads. San Luis Obispo County is in a unique situation. If we deny the permit, the refinery can’t process these large trains, and the oil trains won’t run.
It all comes down to the county Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.
Only they can prevent these trains from “railroading” through all these communities.
For us, and for everyone along this oil train route, the buck stops here.