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Phillips 66, others appeal denial of oil train rail plan

Credit Draft Enviornmental Report

Phillips 66 on Wednesday filed an appeal to overturn the denial of its oil-by-rail plan by the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission

On October 5, the Commission denied a rail line extension from the oil company’s Nipomo Mesa Refinery to the main rail line. 

The extension would have allowed three 80-car trains every week, each delivering over 2 million gallons of crude oil.  Head Planner Ryan Hostetter says the county received two appeals — one from a developer who is concerned about public access to the coastline, and the other from Phillips 66.

"And so our next step for the process would be to schedule the appeal hearing before the County Board of Supervisors," Hostetter said.

Phillips 66 maintains that the County violated one of its own ordinances by accepting the rail spur application before planners determined that the project site had areas of environmentally sensitive habitat. 

Phillips 66 has also filed a petition in Superior Court that would direct the planning commission to correct what the oil company calls “misapplications of county land use rules.” 

The rail spur project has attracted statewide attention, with opponents saying they fear a derailment of the trains hauling the crude oil, and supporters saying that the project could benefit the region’s economy.

A case management conference is set for December 5th.

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