Oppose Oil Trains Coming Through San Jose

The Battle to Stop Oil-Trains in California Continues. Please send the San Luis Obispo Planning Commission Your Concerns!

The recent informal vote by the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission in favor of the Phillips 66 rail spur was a blow to our fight. However, we will continue to battle against corporate greed and government short-sightedness.

The five board members voted three in favor and two against. One of the supporting members seemed to have many misgivings about the project and demanded that assurances be made. Assurances that many of us believe cannot be made by either Phillips 66 or Union Pacific.

Please voice your concerns about impacts in San Jose and up and down the route. These impacts are to our health, welfare, economy and environment. The recent train derailment and fire in Oregon points out the dangers inherent in transporting oil-by-rail.

Below is a site of published letters that you can use as a model for your email and letter.

Sample Letters Received by the Planners


Below is the email contact site as well as where you can send a letter or phone.

Email, Regular Mail and Phone


SLOCo Phillips 66 Rail Spur Hearings have concluded (March 11). The Commissioners started deliberations on March 11th and will continue through April 15th to a decision on May 12. 


Mesa Refinery Watch Group has published details about the February 4th and 5th hearings. Please go to the latest newsletter HERE


The Final Environmental Impact Report Is Out and SLOCo Planning Commission Hearings Set

On December 22nd the Final EIR was published.  This report, though longer, doesn’t change two key facts. One, the unmitigate-able Class I Impacts remain as such; and Two,  many of the mitigate-able impacts are rendered moot because of Union Pacifics ability to pre-empt local authorities’ jurisdiction.

The dates have been set for those impacted by Phillips66 and Union Pacific to join our voices at the SLOCo Planning Commission hearings on February 4th and 5th.

Two groups have sent emails describing what we can do now in preparation for the hearings.  The links below will take you to the  emails.



LA Times list the 31 Oil-Train Crashes over the last two-and-a-half years

On September 28th, 2015 the Los Angeles Times published a table showing the number of oil-train crashes between January 2013 and July 2015. The table (at the link below) shows 31 oil-train crashes with 65% resulting in oil spills and over 50% caused by track issues. This number exceeds the the D.O.T. estimated 10 train crashes per year.

Link To Oil Train Crashes Between January 2013 and July 2015


On Tuesday, August 24th the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors proposed joining counties from Alameda to Ventura in formally opposing the Phillips 66 Nipomo refinery expansion. Below are the two newscasts (KRON-TV and KNTV) and article in the SJ Mercury (Click on the title to go to the video or article)

KRON-TV Report on Santa Clara County opposition to Phillips 66 refinery Expansion

KNTV – (NBC Bay Area) Report on Santa Clara County opposition to Phillips 66 refinery Expansion

San Jose Mercury Article on Santa Clara County opposition to Phillips 66 oil refinery expansion


On August 25th the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted 5 – 0 to formally approve a resolution opposing the Phillips 66 refinery expansion. Below are several documents regarding the resolution

San Jose Mercury Editorial Opposing the Phillips 66 oil refinery expansion

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors Resolution Opposing Phillips 66 Refinery Expansion

SCCo Resolution – Exhibits
SCCo – Union Pacific Santa Clara County Train Route
SCCo – Fire Chiefs Letter in Opposition
SCCo – President Dave Cortese Letter to SLOCo BoS


On July 11th nearly 200 San Joseans came together to rally against Oil Trains. WMS Media captured the rally and below is a short video

Click Here to read Jack Sardegna’s unedited SJ Oil-Train Rally Speech – July 11, 2015

Watch the NBCBayArea News Report

Over 160 people attended an excellent afternoon of music, skits and speeches about the dangers of oil-trains operating through San Jose. Photos from the event will be added soon.

Stop the Oil-Trains in San Jose

This is Not Just a Local Issue!

Transport of oil by rail is a national safety concern. California government officials are stepping up to say “no” to the detrimental impacts of oil tankers passing through their cities and communities.

If the Nipomo rail terminal is not built, the oil trains will not come. The research of implications of Phillips 66 plans conclude that the SLO County Planning Commissioners and Supervisors must reject the rail spur.

June 3, 2015 – San Jose Mercury Cartoon

Oil Trains and Pipeline Collision

The Background Story of Phillips 66 Refinery Plan – A plan that will affect 5.5 million Californians including 195,000 San Jose residents living within one-mile of the route

• Phillips’ Motivation: Phillips claims they are running out of California crude to process, and therefore jobs at their Nipomo refinery are at risk. This is false. Phillips’ corporate executives have stated in writing that they want the entire company to process lower-cost crude oil in order to generate higher profits. That crude would come from Canada. They call it their “crude-by-rail strategy.” The issue is about higher profits by switching to rail delivery, not about protecting jobs.

• Phillips’ Proposal For SLO County: For 60 years their refinery has received crude oil by pipeline … not one drop by rail. Under their proposal, Phillips for the first time would bring in 20,800 rail tankers per year, fully loaded with Canadian “tar sands” crude. Each year, 260 trains, each one-mile long, would travel through the county. Then the same 260 trains would depart (520 trains in total).

Along with the loaded tankers, would come, for the first time, the construction of a rail terminal — including a “railcar unloading facility”, a pumping station, and a new pipeline to move the crude within the refinery. This would be accompanied by trucks and other vehicles to service the facility.

• The Negative Impacts Of Conducting Business In An Entirely New Way: This represents an entirely new business model for Phillips – it’s a dramatic transformation in the way they operate in SLO County and all of California. This is not a benign “rail spur.” The issue is the new intensity of their operations and what they intend to bring in on those rails. The impacts …

  • The introduction of the pollution-intensive “tar sands” (“one of the world’s dirtiest and most environmentally destructive sources of fuel”).
  • Air pollution from diesel exhaust
  • Noise pollution from blaring whistles and track noise throughout San Jose & California.
  • Statewide visual pollution of mile-long trains laden with graffiti, each hauling 100 oil tankers.
  • The potential for derailments and oil spills anywhere in San Jose & California
  • The potential for fires, explosions and toxic smoke anywhere in San Jose & California.
  • The potential for severe property damage anywhere in San Jose & California.
  • The potential for injuries and deaths anywhere in San Jose & California.
  • The potential to damage the reputation of San Jose as a place to live, work and visit.
  • And the potential to damage the economic well-being of our homeowners and businesses.

Of special note is that all City, County & California officials will be preempted from protecting their citizens about anything related to the mainline railroad and the contents of the tank cars — Federal law will not allow our local governments to safeguard us.

• What SLO County Officials Must Do: Therefore, given all of the above impacts and the issue of “preemption” — SLO County’s Planning Commissioners and Supervisors must reject the Phillips 66 “rail spur” plan. If the terminal is not built, the trains will not be targeting San Jose & California.

– Edited version from The Mesa Refinery Watch Group

You can sign petitions at:
Websites relating to oil trains and their environmental impact:
The Weather Channel Report  on YouTube:

“Boom: North America’s Explosive Oil-By-Rail Problem”

Numerous communities have successfully blocked
 refinery expansions and oil trains.  We can too!