Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county
Crude Oil Train Rail Spur Extension Project Final EIR to be Released Soon
The Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, a 1700-acre Reserve of tidal creeks, freshwater marshes and verdant oak woodlands at Sunset. (Photo: Paul Zaretsky, courtesy of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation).
Sierra Club and other environmental groups locally and statewide oppose this proposal which could bring mile-long oil trains carrying 2.5 million gallons of Canadian tar sands crude nearly every day from San Francisco through Monterey County near Elkhorn Slough to San Luis Obispo County. The Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) is expected to be released by the end of the year and hearings on the proposal will begin next year. The FEIR describes the project as "a 6,915-foot eastward extension of an existing rail spur off of the Union Pacific rail mainline, a crude oil railcar unloading facility, pipeline, emergency access road, and other support infrastructure at the Phillips 66 Santa Maria Refinery."
While the Monterey County Board of Supervisors led by Supervisor John Phillips whose district includes Elkhorn Slough voted to write a letter to the county officials in San Luis Obispo opposing the Phillips 66 project, the proposal is going forward.
With a 40-fold increase in crude-by-rail since 2008, derailments and spills have also been on a steep rise. In 2013 more crude oil was spilled from trains than in the previous four decades combined, and in 2014 there were more oil train accidents than in any other year on record.
In voting to oppose the Santa Maria Phillips 66 rail spur, Monterey County joined cities and counties all along the rail route that have passed resolutions and sent letters against the project, including San Jose, Davis, Berkeley, Oakland, Moorpark, Oxnard, Camarillo, Alameda County, Santa Cruz County and Ventura County. To follow the proposal for the oil train, here is the link to the San Luis Obispo County website: http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/planning/environmental/EnvironmentalNotices/Phillips_66_Company_Rail_Spur_Extension_Project.htm