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Nurses Join Teachers, Parents and Students to Voice Opposition to Phillips 66 Oil Train
by via California Nurses Association
Thursday May 14th, 2015 9:03 AM
Registered nurses will join with parents and students for three days of events opposing the Phillips 66 Oil Train Project, which starts this Thursday by urging the Templeton School Board to oppose the controversial Phillips 66 proposal to add five additional rail shipments a week of dirty tar sands crude oil through the center of San Luis Obispo County to Phillips’ Santa Maria refinery. Photo: 2014 oil train derailment in Seattle, Washington. Photo Credit: Flicker user, EcologyWA
The city of San Luis Obispo last month became the first in the county to declare its opposition to the Phillips 66 project. Cities and schools boards in blast zone communities north and south of the county have also sent in letters opposing Phillip 66’s oil train project.

“As a registered nurse and parent, I am concerned about the impact of these 250 oil trains each year on the health and safety of our community, the increased air pollution as well as a possible train derailment and fire”, stated Adrian Rodriguez, a nurse in the Emergency Department at Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton.

“It is only by chance that an oil train derailment has not yet occurred in the heart of a major city, causing a major inferno, or on the bank of a river, spreading thousands of gallons of tar sands crude oil through a watershed, doing permanent damage,” said Andrew Christie, Director of the local chapter of the Sierra Club.

Adding five trains per week if the Phillips 66 project is approved, substantially increases the risk of a catastrophic oil train accident for those hospitals, schools and homes in the one-mile “blast zone” on either side of the tracks. Rail accidents involving tar sands crude have become increasingly common in the U.S. and Canada.

“There are 29 elementary, middle and high schools in the county in the blast zone”, said 30-year elementary school teacher Kathleen Minck. “Our school children at these schools are in extreme risk if there is a major oil train accident. Also, increasing air pollution from the trains will affect all our children with asthma, even in the absence of a major accident”.

“Already in 2015 we’ve seen four major train accidents and explosions in the US and Canada,” said Ethan Buckner, ForestEthics campaigner. “SLO County officials will decide if we allow these exploding trains to roll through downtown SLO and threaten the five million Californians who live in the oil train blast zone.”

Noting the train runs right next to the Cal Poly campus, Soroush Aboutalebi, Cal Poly Environmental Management and Protection major, said, “We want Cal Poly President Armstrong to oppose the oil trains because of the risk they pose to our university.”

"The Phillips 66 project is a recipe for disaster," said Valerie Love with the Center for Biological Diversity. "It would bring millions of gallons of toxic, explosive crude from Canada into populated areas of California every day, putting people, businesses and critical water supplies at risk.”

The Final Environmental Impact Report on the Phillips 66 project is expected soon. After the Planning Commission votes on the project, the appeal is voted on by the Board of Supervisors, followed by an appeal to the California Coastal Commission.

Opponents of the project will rally in front of the Templeton School Board meeting, and then bring their concerns directly to School Board members at their regular board meeting.

What: Parents, teachers and nurses rally outside Templeton School Board meeting
When: Thursday, May 14, 2015, 5:45 p.m. (meeting at 6)
Where: 950 Old Country Road, Templeton

Additional events will be held Monday, May 18 and Tuesday, May 19 as follows:

What: Sierra Vista Registered Nurses rally at railroad crossing near hospital
When: Monday, May 18, 3 p.m.
Where: Railroad Crossing at Foothill Blvd (near California Blvd), SLO

What: Cal Poly Students rally at campus rail crossing
When: Tuesday, May 19, 8:30 a.m.
Where: Railroad Crossing at Foothill Blvd (near California Blvd), SLO

What: Parents and teachers rally outside Lucia Mar School Board meeting
When: Tuesday, May 19, 6:45pm (meeting at 7 p.m.)
Where: 602 Orchard St., Arroyo Grande

California Nurses Association Press Release, 5/13/15

National Nurses United
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Oil TrainsPaul WulterkensThursday May 14th, 2015 3:44 PM
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