"Boom: North America's Explosive Oil-by-Rail Problem," produced by The Weather Channel and InsideClimate News, awed the audience at Tuesday's City Council meeting with vivid footage of train explosions in Quebec, Alabama, North Dakota and Virginia, all within the last two years, and another in 2009 in Illinois. The July 6, 2013, explosion of a crude oil train in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killed 47 people and destroyed much of that small city's downtown.
A rail spur project proposed for the Phillips 66 Santa Maria refinery in Central California, currently under review by San Luis Obispo County, would receive about 250 trains a year, each with 80 tank carloads of crude oil likely from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada.
Possible access routes for the trains to San Luis Obispo County would be from the south, via the Los Angeles Basin, and the north, via the East Bay and South Bay
"We need to be awake and alert and let our voices be heard," said Councilwoman Linda Maio, who prompted the screening.
Phillips 66 has said it is complying with strict federal and California environmental regulations and that safety concerns will be adequately addressed.
Last year, the Richmond and Berkeley city councils voted to oppose the transport of crude oil through the East Bay.
This week the San Leandro City Council passed a resolution opposing Phillips 66's San Luis Obispo County project, and the council in Albany approved a letter opposing shipments of crude oil by rail through the city. The Albany council also requested the letter also be sent to Rep. Barbara Lee and U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.
"Boom" can be viewed at http://stories.weather.com/boom.