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Controversial Proposal To Expand Central Coast Refinery To Handle Oil Trains Rejected

(Phillips 66 Photo)
Phillips 66 wants to expand its rail facilities at its Nipomo plant

After three years of review, a controversial proposal to expand facilities at a Central Coast refinery to handle huge oil train shipments has been rejected.

The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission turned down the proposal by Phillips 66 to expand its rail facilities in Nipomo.

The company wanted the ability to handle three large trains of crude oil a week at the facility. The proposal led to massive opposition by communities throughout the state near rail lines, with many people fearing potential death and destruction which could come from a major derailment.

Phillips officials contended that rail has a solid safety record. The company had also argued that the safety issue wasn’t a local one to decide, because rail lines are regulated by the federal government.

The battle may not be over, because Phillips has the right to appeal the decision to San Luis Obispo County Supervisors, which would trigger a whole new set of hearings.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.