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Fact vs. fear in the Phillips 66 debate 

A vocal minority has raised alarm about mostly imagined hazards from transporting oil to the Nipomo refinery via railroad. Many people are ignoring the facts and the tangible impact on the families and community if the project is denied. Crude by rail has been a safe mode of transportation throughout California for decades.

About 200 head-of-household jobs, a substantial number of which are unionized, are at risk if the project is denied. These are good paying jobs for working men and women with families.

It is infuriating that a group of mostly retired, wealthy people living in expensive homes in an exclusive housing development next to the refinery are pushing a relentless campaign against a neighbor who has diligently provided for the community for 60 years. They have persuaded community, academic and professional leaders to support their “cause” through fear, not facts.

This exclusive group pretends to care. But when people lose these jobs, working families’ lives collapse, dreams are destroyed, home ownership is lost, and roots put down by families disappear. This vocal and obviously well-funded group cares about themselves, not the community they’ve moved into. Will our elected officials listen to the facts and the silent majority?

-- Patrick Sidun - Phillips 66 environmental specialist, Arroyo Grande

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