Thousands of form letters argue against Nipomo rail spur

December 7, 2014

rail oilAfter receiving more than 10,000 emails opposing the Phillips 66 proposed Nipomo rail spur to, staff has delayed the date for the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission to discuss the controversial project as they review the correspondence.

Nevertheless, the emails were primarily copies of five form letters from a handful of environmental advocacy groups. During the 45 day public comment period that ended Nov. 24, groups that include the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity emailed their members asking them to email form letters opposing the spur to the county.

As a result, emails were sent from environmental advocates from throughout the United States with several emailed from other countries.
Phillips 66 is seeking to build the rail spur so that crude oil currently delivered by pipeline could be transported to the Nipomo facility by rail. Phillips 66 is seeking permission to bring in a maximum of about 250 trains each year.

Officials from Phillips 66 said the refining process and the amount of oil will not change if the 1.3 miles of track and unloading facility is approved.

Opponents of the project voice concerns over air pollution from the trains and the environmental impacts if there is a spill.

The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission is slated to discuss the project on Feb 5.



  1. SamLouis says:

    These morons clearly have no idea what has and is being shipped via rail in tanker cars along the coast since 1893. Maybe if they would have known, they would have stayed in Fresno or Los Angeles.

    (8) 28 Total Votes - 18 up - 10 down
  2. laurance says:

    With an 800+ page DREIR to read the issues become very obvious and thus form letters that address the most egregious areas that can’t be mitigated are valid.
    Pre-emption. Phillips can’t mitigate diesel emissions along the mainline and claims pre-emption which is not a settled issue in the courts
    Phillips skirts the issue of piecemealing which is a ceqa violation
    Phillips wants to use emission credits to offset the increase of diesel emissions which currently are above risk levels for carcinogens
    Phillips can’t mitigate the increased noise, light and air pollution that a crude oil terminal would engender in addition to the visual blight
    Phillips can’t mitigate the potential of spills and the explosive potential anywhere along the main line or in the refinery grounds

    No one is suggesting that we don’t need oil or that the refinery should or will close down.

    The issue is simply that Phillips wants to bring in highly toxic tar sands by rail because it might be a few bucks cheaper than sourcing it from the coastal islands as they currently do.

    That issue of cheaper or advantaged crude may no longer be valid as we are awash in low cost oil

    There is no upside to building a terminal. Even the manager at Phillips had said he’d rather just turn a valve on a pipeline than manage a rail terminal with all of the issues and problems of such a facility

    Thus with the form letters it doesn’t take much to understand that if looks like a duck and quacks like a duck then this rail project is an ugly duckling. You don’t need to know much more. It’s a bad idea for health and environmental reasons and for the economy of the area.

    (-2) 34 Total Votes - 16 up - 18 down
    • concretedude says:

      Get real! Bottom line is, we need more jobs, and that facility is a great place of employment for many locals in this area. The enviromental impact is minimal. The biggest visual impact would be from the trilogy golf couse homes. How bout, the tree huggers grab a shovel and start planting back some of the thousands of trees that were mowed down to accomidate the high end holmes on the mesa. Win, win, plant them accross the highway to block the view.

      (-1) 23 Total Votes - 11 up - 12 down
      • mesaman says:

        Concrete. Do you know the payroll of Phillips 66 Santa Maria Oil Refinery? It is, in fact, not that large, and the proposed Rail Spur will add about 2 or 3 permanent full-time jobs to the facility. And I’d like you to view the 3 railcar disasters in the US in 2014 and get back to us with your version of “minimal environmental impact.”

        Most the Trilogy area was and still is eucalyptus. They call it Monarch Dunes for a reason, as most of the natural land was undulating sound mounds. You might want to check your facts before your spout them off here.

        (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
        • concretedude says:

          Listen here mesa man, we all know why you’re against this project. Would you like it better if all energy and industry moves out of this area so that you and you’re country club wonderland life style type can see the butterflies flying and the sun setting just beond the putting green? I have lived around here a long time and nothing ticks me off more than a group of people bitchin about impact when the biggest impact on weather, scenery, and wildlife was the slaughter of the tens of thousands of eucs that occured to accomodate the wonderland lifestyle. The developers had deep pockets and the county looked the other way. And again, crude allready comes through here.

          (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
      • Noodly Appendages says:
        If this rail spur comes to pass on these rickity and already overused tracks, maybe
        we can have this kind of awesome disaster and get on the news! Jobs created by
        new federal officers like our beloved Homeland Security heroes too. All sarcasm aside, I wouldn’t mind seeing the McMansions in the area all torched by the aforementioned disaster.

        (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  3. celebratepaso says:

    I wasn’t aware that signing a form letter negated the letter’s intent.

    (16) 30 Total Votes - 23 up - 7 down
    • JMO says:

      I guess there is nothing wrong with a form letter as long as there is nothing wrong with a form reply.

      (6) 14 Total Votes - 10 up - 4 down
  4. Rich in MB says:

    So let me guess. They drive to the protests in their gas cars and rail against the refinery to make the gas? NIMBY 101.

    (8) 60 Total Votes - 34 up - 26 down
    • mesaman says:

      Actually MB, most of the Trilogy protesters, who represented 90% of the attendees of most of the meetings since 2012, came to the meetings via foot, as they were typically held in Monarch’s Meeting Hall, and also Black Lake’s Meeting facility.

      Might want to get informed on what is actually transpiring out there before you make assumptions….

      (0) 8 Total Votes - 4 up - 4 down

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