Letters to the Editor

Mosier, Oregon, train derailment is cautionary tale for SLO County

On June 3, a Union Pacific crude oil train with almost 100 tank cars derailed in the small town of Mosier, Oregon.

Six of the “safe” tank cars split open, and the crude oil burned out of control for 18 hours. Because there was very little wind that day and firefighters could pump 1,500 gallons of water a minute from the Columbia River to keep other tank cars cool, a massive catastrophe was averted.

“Mosier really dodged a bullet in the last 24 hours,” Mosier Fire Chief Jim Appleton said.

Two years ago, the Mosier City Council had passed a resolution in opposition to oil trains coming through their community. Union Pacific ignored it because they have the power.

If Phillips 66 gets permission to build its propose crude oil train terminal on the Nipomo Mesa, we will have at least three milelong trains per week coming through our towns.

Currently, no oil trains provide product at the refinery — it all comes by relatively safe pipeline. Unlike Mosier, in San Luis Obispo we have the power to prevent these trains from entering our county by denying Phillips 66 a building permit for its oil train terminal.

Charles Varni, Oceano