For Immediate Release, March 16, 2015
San Leandro City Council Votes to Oppose Central Coast Oil Train Project
SAN LEANDRO, Calif.— San Leandro today became the latest city to oppose the proposed Phillips 66 oil train offloading facility in San Luis Obispo County. The city council unanimously passed a resolution urging the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors to deny the project permit, joining the San Leandro Teachers’ Association and the San Leandro Unified School District in citywide opposition. If approved the facility would bring mile-long oil trains carrying 2.5 million gallons of crude nearly every day through densely populated areas, including San Leandro.
“The rail trains and what they are moving through our city affects our whole city so it is only right for the whole city to be involved,” said San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter.
“As a strong environmentalist, I want to thank Maureen Forney, a grammar school teacher in San Leandro, for bringing this to my attention,” said Jim Prola, vice mayor of San Leandro. “These crude-oil trains, if allowed, would create a high risk of spills, fire and explosion to our schools, businesses and residents located along the route. I felt a sense of responsibility to bring forward a city council resolution in opposition.”
More than a dozen city governments along the rail route affected by the Santa Maria Phillips 66 project have also submitted letters or passed resolutions against the project, including San Jose, Berkeley, Davis and Ventura County. More than 22,000 people from across California have also voiced opposition to the project.
"There is no way we can mitigate the danger to our students. At least eight of San Leandro's Schools are in the 'blast zone' for these trains— and we have see several train accidents in just the last few weeks," said Diana Prola, president of the San Leandro School Board. "The Board and the City Council have sent letters opposing this transporting of tracking spoils through our city and county, because sometimes when something is wrong, people need to speak up."
“I look out my classroom door every day at the trains going by on the Capitol Corridor,” said school teacher Claudia McDonagh. “With the recent exploding derailments in West Virginia and Illinois it becomes easy to imagine one of those mile-long oil bomb trains coming off the tracks and into my classroom.”
“The Phillips 66 rail project is a disaster waiting to happen,” said Valerie Love with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s heartening to see San Leandro elected officials, schools and teachers uniting to protect our communities from dangerous oil trains.”
Oil trains have become an increasing concern to cities and towns along the rail routes, as oil train traffic in the U.S. has increased more than 4,000 percent since 2008. Following this trend, there has been a steep rise in derailments, spills and explosions, with more oil spilled in rail accidents in 2013 than in the previous four decades.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 825,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.