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Energy

Final decision on Phillips 66 oil train project delayed until at least September

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Draft Environmental Impact Report
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A plan to increase the number of trains carrying shipments of crude oil along the Central Coast is on hold until at least late September.

Phillips 66 wants to build additional rail access to its Santa Maria Refinery just west of Nipomo, which, if approved would greatly increase the number of oil trains passing through the area.

San Luis Obispo County Planning Commissioners decided Monday to wait for some clarification on health and safety mitigation conditions they'd like to see placed on the project. There is some confusion over what role the county can play on this level.

Earlier in the day, the commissioners voted on a motion to deny the proposal, with three commissioners voting against and two in favor. By the end of the day the unanswered questions delayed the taking of any official vote to approve the proposal.

County staff will spend the next few months researching the specific issues addressed by the commissioners... which will be presented at a meeting scheduled for September 22, 2016.

A number of environmental and community groups are campaigning against the plan and letters from municipalities throughout the state have been sent to the County expressing concern over the project.

The County Planning Commission will not be the last stop for this proposal. Commissioners, opponents and supporters all expect it to face additional hurdles including the California Coastal Commission, the County Board of Supervisors and the courts.