Since Monday, the San Luis Obispo County Supervisors have been holding hearings on the Phillips 66 crude-by-rail project. SLO County's Planning Commissioners had turned down the project … but P66 appealed to the Supervisors.
After two days of hearings and public comment from almost 200 SLO County and California citizens, the Supervisors voted. By a 3 to 1 margin, they also decided that building a rail terminal in the county, enabling hundreds of volatile crude oil trains to travel here, was against the public's best interests. The issues cited most revolved around health and safety … those including air, noise and visual pollution, and the very real potential of train derailments, oil spills, fires, explosions, injuries/deaths and property damage.
Supervisors Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson voted against the project. They were joined by Supervisor Lynn Compton, whose district would have been the home of P66's rail terminal. In favor was Supervisor Debbie Arnold. Supervisor John Peschong had recused himself based on P66 having been his client in recent years.
This decision is yet another victory for the power of people to defend their property and human rights, in the face of commercial organizations that seek to gain profits regardless of the cost to the public and other businesses.
P66 has yet to comment on how they will move forward … i.e., whether they will cancel their intentions for crude-by-rail, appeal to the California Coastal Commission, or pursue it in the courts.
But for now -- to the thousands of supporters who fought the fight directly and indirectly, who wrote letters to the editor, sent an avalanche of emails to government officials, who showed up at rallies and attended the hearings that seemed to never end -- your efforts counted! United, we can protect our families, our homes and our communities.