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Say no to rail or create enforceable mitigation 

The League of Women Voters of San Luis Obispo County shares the deep concerns of many in our community regarding the Phillips 66 rail spur project and the risks to the public that it entails. When deciding on the project, our local officials cannot ignore the tremendous increase in rail accidents, property damage, and deaths that have occurred from rail accidents in recent years.

The increase in oil shipments, the volatility of the oil being shipped, the use of old and vulnerable tanker cars to transport that oil, and the failure to upgrade infrastructure on our rail lines are all issues to be considered. Increased activity resulting from the rail spur project will expose hundreds of thousands of people and large areas of environmental sensitivity to a greatly increased risk of accident and damage.

Locally, the main rail line through San Luis Obispo County is one of the windiest and steepest in the state with trestles and bridges in serious need of upgrading. Schools, hospitals, and homes along the rail line in San Miguel, Paso Robles, Templeton, Atascadero, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Guadalupe, and Nipomo would be put at risk.

The serious safety issues raised by the far-reaching impact of this project require that the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors insist upon full and enforceable mitigation of these risks before approving the project. We say “enforceable” because it is unclear that county authorities can require structural studies of and upgrades to infrastructure or enforce speed limits on trains coming through our county. If county officials cannot enforce mitigation of the very real dangers that this project presents to our communities, they should not approve the project. To do so would be to risk real harm to all of us.

-- Marguerite Bader - President, League of Women Voters SLO County

-- Marguerite Bader - President, League of Women Voters of San Luis Obispo County

-- Marguerite Bader - President, League of Women Voters SLO County

-- Marguerite Bader - President, League of Women Voters of San Luis Obispo County

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