On March 14 the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 to uphold their Planning Commission's decision to reject Phillips 66's proposal for a rail spur that would bring dangerous crude oil trains through Santa Barbara County. SBCAN and many other organizations and individuals were at the public hearing to urge the Board to uphold the denial. SBCAN Executive Director Ken Hough was quoted in the Santa Maria Times:
"This is the first time in 15 years we have ever spoken outside Santa Barbara County," said Ken Hough, Santa Barbara County Action Network executive director. "We never had the need to ... until now."
Hough told the four supervisors — Chairman John Peschong recused himself from the hearing because of his consulting background with the oil industry — his organization stands with Santa Barbara County in its opposition to the proposed rail spur project.
The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors penned a letter last week to San Luis Obispo County elected officials urging them to uphold their Planning Commission's decision and deny the appeal, and reiterating the county's opposition to the proposed project.
SBCAN, which has been working against this rail terminal for nearly two years, is much gratified by this action. Over the last year and a half, many speakers and letter writers have used data from our July 2015 report detailing the potential impacts of the project in Santa Barbara County, including at yesterday’s hearing.
Our report and our volunteer members helped convince Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Goleta and the County of Santa Barbara to vote to urge San Luis Obispo County to deny the project. Thanks to all who contributed to SBCAN’s efforts on this campaign: from former SBCAN Board Member Dick Hall, who first raised the alarm at SBCAN more than two years ago, to Jane Baxter, who authored the much-referenced July 2015 report, and to many volunteers who came out to meetings in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties to oppose this rail terminal.
We don’t know if Phillips 66 will appeal to the Coastal Commission or file suit, but if it does either or both, we know the people will stand up again to protect their health and environment.