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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Crude Oil Train Rail Spur Extension Project Final EIR to be Released Soon

December, 2015
Elkhorn Slough 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:

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section title

Crude Oil Train Rail Spur Extension Project Final EIR to be Released Soon
December 2015

Sierra Club and Other Groups File Lawsuit against California Oil Regulators
December 2015

Sierra Club, Other Groups File Federal Lawsuit to Curb Unsafe Oil Trains
May 2015

Earthjustice, Sierra Club and Center of Biological Diversity File Lawsuit to Halt California Oil Injection Practices
May 2015

Sierra Club Condemns State Injection Well Practices, Calls for Investigation
February 2015

Sierra Club Submits Comment Letter to DOGGR
November 2014

Monterey County Board of Supervisors Review Fracking Regulations
September 2014

Trio Petroleum Well Permit Denied at Monterey County Planning Commission
August 2014

A Renewable Energy Economy?
August 2014

Sierra Club CA Submits Comments to DOGGR on Fracking
August 2014

Chapter Submits Comments to BLM Regarding the Dangers of Fracking
February 2014

Santa Cruz County Moves To Adopt Fracking Moratorium
December 2013

Sierra Club Opposes Weak Fracking Bill SB 4 Passed by the Assembly
September 2013

Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity Win a Major Fracking Decision for Central California
August 2013

Chapter Submits Comments to State Regulatory Board Regarding Lack of Oversight for Fracking; Public Concern Grows
May 2013

Sierra Club and CBD Win Major Fracking Lawsuit Victory
April 2013

New Sierra Club Lawsuit Aims to Protect More Public Lands from Fracking
April 2013

Sierra Club Sues California Department of Conservation Over Dangers of Fracking
October 2012

Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity Sue BLM over Oil Leases
February 2012

Club files protest to stop fracking in Monterey County
August 2011

Controversial fracking method approved for oil drilling near Salinas River
April 2011