Letters to the Editor

‘Real experts’ remain silent on Phillips 66 crude oil plan

Retired fire Chief Greg O’Sullivan (“Retired Templeton fire chief: Do not understate risk of oil trains,” Oct. 23) glossed over several major points that I attempted to make in my column, “Fear campaign against Phillips.” O’Sullivan discusses the danger of a major derailment in an urban area presented by trains carrying crude oil to the Phillips 66 refinery in Nipomo. He ignores my point that critics’ emphasis on the Phillips 66 project merely diverts attention from existing hazards not related to Phillips 66, leading to a false sense of security to the public by blocking the project.

Some cargoes currently transported by Union Pacific are considerably more hazardous than crude oil that would be transported to Nipomo. Anyone with hazardous materials training knows this. O’Sullivan repeats the canard that there is no Type I or II Hazardous Materials response team in San Luis Obispo County. That’s irrelevant, as we have a hazardous materials response team that meets county needs.

Finally, the “real experts” have been silent on this project, specifically, the county Fire Chief’s Association and the state Fire Marshal’s Office. If either organization objected to hazards posed by the Phillips 66 project, everyone should take note.

But they’re silent, because they know the Phillips 66 project is being exploited for reasons that are more political than related to safety.

Al Fonzi, Atascadero

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