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Hearing Set For Controversy Over Oil Refinery On Central Coast

(Phillips 66 photo)
Phillips 66 wants to expand it rail facilities at its Nipomo refinery, so it can ship oil their by train instead of tanker truck

A date has been set for San Luis Obispo County Supervisors to hear an appeal of a decision denying expansion of a Central Coast oil refinery to handle massive trainloads of crude oil.

After eight public hearings last year, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission denied an application by Phillips 66 to expand its rail facilities in Nipomo. The company wants to be able to handle three 80 car trains a week, each carrying over two million gallons of crude oil.

The proposal drew opposition from throughout the state, with people in communities along rail lines saying a derailment of one of the massive trains would be disastrous. Supporters contend railroads have an excellent safety record, and saying that it’s the federal government, and not the county responsible for regulating rail safety issues.

In filing an appeal, Phillips 66 says that without the ability to use the oil trains, the company will be forced to use 100 round trip big rig oil truck trips a day to move the oil. County Supervisors are scheduled to begin hearing the appeal March 13th.

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. 
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