San Jose City Council unanimous in opposition to planned Phillips 66 oil-by-rail expansion

Repost from NBC Bay Area
[Editor: The Phillips 66 trains would come over the Sierra, and through Sacramento.  From there, they COULD travel south through Stockton and then west to the Bay Area.  OR they could continue west from Sacramento, through Davis, Dixon, Vacaville, Fairfield and BENICIA.  Here the trains would cross two seriously aging bridges in Benicia and Martinez before traveling through the heavily populated East Bay and South Bay.  See also the announcement by the Center for Biological Diversity.  Apologies for the video’s commercial ad.  – RS]

San Jose City Council Votes to Oppose Plans For Crude Oil Transport

By Robert Handa, Jan 13, 2015 

A major oil company looking to transport millions of gallons of crude oil on a train line through San Jose and Santa Clara has many South Bay residents up in arms.

Part of the expansion of the Phillips 66 Santa Maria refinery operation includes transportation along a stretch on Monterey Road in South San Jose. Many people in the area are worried about a possible train derailment involving toxic crude oil.

“Our concerns are ‘What would happen if a derailment occurred?’ And, in particular, the load that the trains are carrying,” said Sergio Jimenez, who heads up a homeowners association in South San Jose.

A check of the area shows a fence separating homes from the train tracks.

City Councilman Ash Kalra proposed San Jose take a stance on the issue with a letter opposing the oil company’s plan.

“It’s coming right through our cities within a hundred feet of homes in my council district,” Kalra said. “Going through farmlands in my council district as well, and going through downtown.”

The issue was discussed at Tuesday’s council meeting and a debate lasted lasted late into the afternoon, with some council members saying it is the federal government’s job, not the city’s, to make the call.

“We should also be asking ‘Is enough being done to make us safe?'” Councilman Johnny Khamis said. “But not outright oppose it.”

Ultimately, the council voted unanimously to oppose the plans for crude oil to be transported through San Jose and urged the San Luis Obispo Planning Commission to reject the expansion proposal.

Other cities along the rail route affected by the Santa Maria Phillips 66 project have also submitted letters or passed resolutions against crude-by-rail, including Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Martinez, Davis and Moorpark.

Phillips 66 did not return calls seeking comment.