Oil by rail signifies progress
September 27, 2015
OPINION By MARCUS BEAL
The Santa Maria Refinery is a small facility located on the mesa that has been a good neighbor for 60 years. They own 1780 acres of land but only use a very small portion of it.
Refineries intentionally purchase large plots of land to provide a buffer between them and the surrounding community. This adds additional annual taxation cost but aids them from impacting the surrounding community. This is part of the philosophy of being a good neighbor.
They give back to the community and are a major source of tax revenue for the central coast and the State of California. They provide permanent employment for approximately 200 local residents and during maintenance periods provide employment for an additional 300 temporary employees. These individual spend their income at the hotels, restaurants, vineyards, and various businesses here on the central coast.
The refinery wants to add additional railroad tracks on their own property to facilitate delivery of crude oil by rail. This practice is currently being done in other states on the East Coast, Gulf Coast, and West Coast. It’s been proven that it can be done safely and efficiently.
They do not own the pipeline or oil fields as some opponents falsely imply. They buy crude oil from local producers shipped by pipeline and want to be able to be able to receive it by railcar.
There are no railroad tracks that cross the ocean so it’s obvious the crude oil is domestic and not foreign as the opposition implies. The days of the pony express are long gone. That whispering sound you hear is called progress.
Marcus Beal is a resident of Pismo Beach.