Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

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Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan
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Source: Environmental Defense Center

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted today to reject ExxonMobil’s proposal to transport oil by tanker trucks along hazardous California highways. The plan would have helped the company restart three 1980s drilling platforms off the Santa Barbara coast, shut down since the Refugio disaster seven years ago.

Today’s vote comes on the heels of a disturbing new report from international scientists on climate change’s intense and mounting damages. It follows last year’s disastrous oil spill off Huntington Beach, another offshore oil leak from DCOR Pipeline 0919, an oil tanker truck accident and fire in Santa Maria, and the Alisal Fire that threatened the ExxonMobil’s Las Flores Canyon oil-processing facility, where trucks would load crude.

ExxonMobil’s plan would have added up to 24,800 oil-filled truck trips a year on coastal Highway 101 and hazardous Route 166. ExxonMobil’s three offshore platforms near Santa Barbara were shut down in 2015 after the Plains All American Pipeline ruptured and spilled thousands of gallons of oil. In 2020 county planning staff recommended a prohibition on oil tanker trucks on Route 166 after a major accident spilled more than 4,500 gallons into the Cuyama River.

“Recent oil tanker truck accidents and offshore oil spills show how dangerous ExxonMobil’s proposal to restart its offshore oil platforms and truck crude oil along scenic and perilous county highways is. Our research revealed that there have been eight serious accidents involving tanker trucks along the route in the last several years, resulting in deaths, oil spills, injuries, fires, and road closures,” said Linda Krop, chief counsel of the Environmental Defense Center, which represents Get Oil Out! and Santa Barbara County Action Network. “We applaud the Board’s vote against ExxonMobil’s project, which puts the safety of our communities, climate and coastlines first.”

The county’s rejection of ExxonMobil’s proposal was based on the project’s significant and unavoidable harms to biological, water and cultural resources in the event of a spill, as well as the proposed trucking’s other threats to health, safety and general welfare. 

“The Environmental Affairs Board celebrates the Board of Supervisor’s decision to reject Exxon’s trucking proposal once and for all,” said the Environmental Affairs Board at University of California at Santa Barbara. “Exxon’s trucking proposal was a step in the wrong direction on climate and put Californians and our coastal resources in harm’s way from spills, crashes, pollution and fires. This vote gives our generation of students hope that the county is transitioning to a clean, safe and just future without delay.”

California suffers hundreds of oil-truck incidents a year, and many result in oil spills. There were 258 trucking accidentsalong the planned route from 2015 to 2021; since 2007 eight oil tanker truck accidents have occurred that resulted in six deaths, multiple injuries, fires, road closures, and oil spills.

“This is an enormous victory against oil industry pollution and this trucking plan’s significant threats to public safety,” said Julie Teel Simmonds, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’ve seen oil spill after oil spill along the California coast, and it’s incredibly encouraging to see Santa Barbara County supervisors take a stand against this dirty and dangerous industry.”

A majority of Santa Barbara County voters oppose restarting ExxonMobil’s offshore drilling platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel, according to a November 2019 poll. Nearly 3 out of 4 respondents said they were concerned “about the safety of our local highways if up to 70 oil tanker trucks are allowed on our roads each day.”

“The Huntington spill sadly brought into clear, devastating focus why restarting Exxon’s 40-year-old platforms, beyond their max 35-year life, with a history of corrosion and spills, would place our entire coastline at risk,” said Katie Davis, chair of the Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter, which also submitted a petition, signed by more than 2,000 people, opposing the project. “Offshore oil is too risky. We know it, and the industry and regulators know it. It’s why 7,500 businesses and 90 cities on the Pacific coast are on record opposing offshore oil.”

“The Board has taken the right stance today and protected Chumash homelands and homewaters from this unthinkable project,” said Mariza Sullivan, Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation Tribal representative. “The Chumash people will not condone this or other destructive fossil fuel projects passing through our ancestral lands.”

Watch the video produced by @vacationland for @environmentaldefensecenter. Directed by @offline.media.account and @nicholas_weissman.

The coalition opposing ExxonMobil’s trucking plan includes 350 Santa Barbara, the California Coastal Protection Network, the California Wildlife Foundation/California Oaks, CalTrout, Carpinteria Valley Association, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Oceanic Awareness Research, and Education (COARE), Channel Islands Restoration, Citizens Planning Association, Climate First: Replacing Oil and Gas, the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation, Coastal Ranches Conservancy, Community Environmental Council, the Cuyama Valley Community Association, Eco Vista, Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo, Environmental Defense Center, Explore Ecology, Food & Water Watch, Food and Water Action, Fund for Santa Barbara, Gaviota Coast Conservancy, Get Oil Out!, Goleta Goodland Coalition, Goodland Coalition, Heal the Bay, Heal the Ocean, the League of Women Voters (Santa Barbara), Los Padres ForestWatch, Northern California Recycling Association, the Plastic Pollution Coalition, Plastics Ocean International, Santa Barbara Audubon, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, Santa Barbara County Action Network, the Santa Barbara Standing Rock Coalition, the Santa Barbara Urban Creeks Council, Save Our Shores, the SB Museum of Natural History & Sea Ctr, Seventh Generation Advisors, Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter, Sierra Club Santa Lucia Chapter, Society of Fearless Grandmothers (SB), Surfrider Foundation, Surfrider Foundation Santa Barbara County Chapter, The 5 Gyres Institute, UCSB Associated Students External Vice President for Statewide Affairs Esmeralda Quintero-Cubillan, UCSB Coastal Fund, UCSB Environmental Affairs Board, UCSB Environmental Justice Alliance, UPSTREAM, WE Watch, Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation, and Zero Waste USA.

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rustydad Mar 10, 2022 07:15 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

God help us if the comments posted here are representative of the average American's understanding of the environment and geo-politics. The ignorance is so thick I could barely stand to read all the comments.

sacjon Mar 10, 2022 10:38 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

RUSTYDAD - the "average American" is the one complaining that their 15 mpg mini-monster truck is costing more to fill up, therefore, despite Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it's all Biden's fault.

JB86 Mar 09, 2022 11:27 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

I'm one who thinks the 'truck plan' is a bad idea, while a new, properly-supervised pipeline would be very much safer. Why is the industry putting forth the truck plan, anyway? Seems to me, because the County and Coastal Commission have stone-walled the pipeline. Why? Maybe for the same reason the Biden Admin killed Keystone; to wit, they just want to throttle oil production, leading somehow to a perfect non-carbon future. Pretty unrealistic, given you cannot make windmills or solar panels without petroleum products.

JoeG Mar 09, 2022 07:18 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

The lefty hypocrites just can’t stand “oil”. Das and Gregg will happily use commercial jets to fly back and forth to the den of corruption (Sacramento), but they sure as hell aren’t gonna let Evil Exxon transport their product and produce fuel. I paid $5.59/gal for gas today. That high price is directly related to the SB County BOS childish hatred of energy companies.

sacjon Mar 10, 2022 11:55 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

"the price has been skyrocketing the past year and a half it is misinformation to try and frame the current high prices as the result of Russia." - Ok, so what caused the drastic overnight spike in gas prices? Sure, they might be lower overall, who knows, but the historic rise itself was directly caused by the invasion. The SPIKE was caused by Russia, the rise could be many things.

sacjon Mar 10, 2022 10:36 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

VOICE - what was "misinformation?" Where I said the BOS decision the other day wasn't the cause of the spike in prices or where I said the invasion of Ukraine caused an overnight spike, as reported by FORBES. Sure, maybe prices slowly got higher over the past 2 years, but the SPIKE everyone is complaining about happened ON THE NIGHT OF THE INVASION. Facts. Plain ol' facts.

Voice of Reason Mar 10, 2022 11:19 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

"the skyrocket in prices occurred the night Russia invaded Ukraine" - not factually untrue but as the price has been skyrocketing the past year and a half it is misinformation to try and frame the current high prices as the result of Russia. This is all (including Russian's invasion of Ukraine) a mess of our own making.

Voice of Reason Mar 10, 2022 10:01 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

That is misinformation Sacjon. The skyrocket in prices started November 2020 with a 15% jump from the prior month, was doubled by November 2021, and now 300% higher than it was at the start of the Biden administration, where day 1 he took significant actions to curtail domestic oil production. Elections certainly have consequences. But hey, we can all just go buy a Tesla so we don't have to worry about gas prices..... never mind that we don't have to the infrastructure to keep all those new EV's charged.

sacjon Mar 10, 2022 09:41 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

JOE -"That high price is directly related to the SB County BOS childish hatred of energy companies." - No it wasn't. As the article I cited from FORBES (you know, the money magazine staffed by actual financial EXPERTS, not online locals), the skyrocket in prices occurred the night Russia invaded Ukraine. You're trying to tell us that had nothing to do with it? That ONLY the BOS decision, which happened AFTER the rise in prices was to blame?

PROVE it. It's easy to anonymously just spout out words and claim them as "facts" (we have a few of those around here), but it's quite another, and more respectable and dignified, to actually provide some evidence to back your claim. Again..... PROVE IT.

a-1646917621 Mar 10, 2022 05:07 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

So Joe, do you think the price would go down if the Board had approved the trucking plan?!
Can you explain how the high price of gas is "directly related to the SB County BOS childish hatred of energy companies"?

fitz Mar 09, 2022 04:45 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

Best moment at yesterday's hearing. SBCAN had a video and ran that during their 1 minute. Lavagnino shouts out' Point of order!!! We have never had a video during public comment". Well, they freeze the video at the point where they show a tanker blowing up. It was on my screen at home for at least 5 minutes. They certainly got to make their point. All the 'suits' and paid Exxon/Mobil employees who were in the audience got to look at that for a long time.

fitz Mar 09, 2022 04:36 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

Kudos to those individuals and organizations who spoke up in favor of denial of this awful trucking plan.
I would advise the 'experts' weighing in here to go to the County website for this item and read the 100s of comments sent in. It would be very educational. What a concept!!!!

RHS Mar 09, 2022 04:30 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

Here's a modest proposal: All "western" oil companies should declare that they are in it for the people of Ukraine and the world and that they will forgo profit on this business for the duration of Putin's hellish invasion. There is little harm to them from doing this and it would strike a rallying blow for the capitalist democracies against the oligarchs and other authoritarian economies (such as the Gulf States).

sacjon Mar 09, 2022 01:36 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

CHIP, VOICE and others taking Russia's side regarding the historical spike in gas prices:

"The overnight spike comes after Russian troops attacked Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the second-largest nuclear plant in Europe—intensifying concerns that new sanctions could curb oil production in Russia, one of the world’s top oil-producing countries...... Oil prices spiked immediately after the attack, with U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate jumping 5% to a nearly eight-year high of $113 per barrel by 11 a.m. EST on Friday."

(https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathanponciano/2022/03/04/gas-prices-suddenly-spike-to-10-year-high-after-russias-nuclear-plant-attack-experts-warn-surge-will-only-get-worse/?sh=4a9fcad6a682)

I don't know, but I'd probably put more trust into FORBES than a couple local Putin defenders.

sacjon Mar 10, 2022 09:44 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

CHIP - "You are advocating for maximizing the dependency of the west on people like Putin for energy and for maximizing the oil and gas revenue of people like Putin." Nope, not in any way. I've never once supported using Russian oil. In fact, I'm very much for the ban on oil imports. We can make do with the oil we get from all the other countries and what we produce here. I just don't want it produced and transported here in such and environmentally sensitive area. How is that so hard to understand. NIMBY? Sure am. I have no problem saying put that crud somewhere else where not as much is at stake.

a-1646924705 Mar 10, 2022 07:05 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

General, you are 100% wrong. The crude that is produced from offshore California is heavy and considered low quality. The refining process is more involved. California crude is not generally refined into gasoline, but more commercial uses, and sometimes fuel oil (diesel). Middle Eastern oil is from much older formations and is extremely light - easy to refine. As for the sulfur in CA crude - not difficult to remove at all - the infrastructure is in place. I just hating reading all of this misinformation that people know for sure.

a-1646883175 Mar 09, 2022 07:32 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

4:14 - That's totally false. The product coming out of our wells isn't "sweet" crude, the stuff that's easy to make into gasoline. Ours is loaded with sulfur, as you can smell from anywhere within a mile of a well, and it takes a lot of effort to remove it to make gasoline that's usable.

GeneralTree Mar 09, 2022 04:14 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

A lot of our refiners, particularly in the gulf coast of Texas are built for this lower quality crude that comes from the Middle East and Russia and Canada. And the crude that we produce is typically higher quality. Counterintuitively, it’s harder for us to actually turn that better crude into gasoline and diesel than it is for the lower quality crude. You'd need to make no refineries - or re-tool existing ones.

Chip of SB Mar 09, 2022 02:38 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

Sac, I am advocating for increasing oil and gas production in North America in order to reduce the reliance of western countries on people like Putin for energy. I am advocating for increasing oil and gas production to reduce prices, thus strengthening our economy and reducing the revenue of people like Putin. You are advocating for maximizing the dependency of the west on people like Putin for energy and for maximizing the oil and gas revenue of people like Putin. I guess in newspeak that means I support Putin and you oppose him? At any rate, if Putin had the power to decide us energy policy he would have wholeheartedly implemented Biden’s plan because it has made him wealthier and more powerful.

CoastWatch Mar 09, 2022 01:34 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

Do people like SACJON think the gasoline just comes into fruition in a week? A month? 90 days after extracting oil from a drill site...? The fuel we were using until 3 months ago was from crude drilled at least 9 months ago... Biden, immediately after taking office, sign an executive order to ban drilling on federal lands, impose restrictions on current sites as well as refiners and closed down Keystone... As if his pen stroke would immediately make us a "Green" country! LOL!!! 95% of "Green" energy components, whether solar or wind blades etc are made in CHINA... It will take at least 2 generations to ween us of petroleum energy as a mainstay... but even then, we will STILL need petroleum products...

CoastWatch Mar 09, 2022 05:24 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

@ GT- ...because this Administration changed all the rules to extricate the oil from the ground, making so many mandated regulations that it is insane to go in... not to mention the fact that our refineries are handcuffed by the Feds as well. Go figure why we need Iranian and Venezuelan oil "deals".... Deals with the devil once again. INSANE!

Basicinfo805 Mar 09, 2022 01:17 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

Looking pretty hypocritical here SB supervisors (and assorted Edhat commenters). Keep on driving! It’s gotta come from somewhere. I love the ocean. Who doesn’t? But yeah, just cause we live here doesn’t mean we automatically bail on some level of responsibility to ‘preserve our perfect uptopia’.

Voice of Reason Mar 10, 2022 07:15 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

Bingo Basic! It has to be pumped from somewhere, from someone’s backyard, then transported over other peoples backyard and along other peoples coastline to get to where Sacjon and other consume that oil. Environmental NIMBY’ism isn’t environmentalism, it’s just more virtue signaling.

sacjon Mar 09, 2022 01:32 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

BASIC - "‘preserve our perfect uptopia’." No, it's no preserve a delicate and largely endangered ecosystem. Our "responsibility" should be to the land and the species who thrive there and to those who make a living from said land.

GeneralTree Mar 09, 2022 10:53 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

Oil companies aren't using 9,000 approved drilling leases that were approved by the government. Oil companies aren't using what they have and are prioritizing stock buybacks while making record profits.

Voice of Reason Mar 09, 2022 11:44 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

While oil companies are absolutely for-profit business which focus on maximizing profits and shareholder value, there are a whole host of reasons why those 9,000 leases aren't pumping oil; between being tied up in litigation with environmental groups, needing additional government approvals and environmental reviews before drilling can begin, some leases simply don't extractable oil beneath them, the infrastructure isn't in place to transport oil/gas to a processing facility, etc.. For example, here in SB we have several oil platforms with approved drilling leases that are sitting idle because the county refused to let them truck the oil out.

Chip of SB Mar 09, 2022 09:46 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

Actions like these help drive up the price of oil and increase our reliance on imported oil. Is it really better to buy oil from countries like Russia, Venezuela, and Iran than it is to produce our own oil?

sacjon Mar 09, 2022 12:02 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

VOICE - now YOU'RE lying. I never said he "jumped to defend." Look, if you say don't blame Russia, blame Biden, then what else are you doing other than DEFENDING Russia from blame? Dude, simple freakin' English.

Voice of Reason Mar 09, 2022 11:56 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

I guess if you change the definition of 'defend', then yeah I could see how your would think Chip is defending Russia. To everyone else, no, people won't think what he said is a "jump to defend Russia".

sacjon Mar 09, 2022 11:53 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

Let me elaborate for you as I'm sure you still won't get it: I blamed Russia for the recent skyrocket in gas prices. Chip said don't blame Russia, blame Biden. Therefore, Chip defended Russian from being blamed for the recent skyrocket in gas prices.

There, even you should be able to understand that.

sacjon Mar 09, 2022 11:50 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

VOICE - "no one on EdHat defended Russia. " Sure did. Chip said "Blaming Russia for everything is getting a little tired." That means, he thinks we shouldn't blame Russia. When someone says "don't blame x,y,z" they're.... DEFENDING it from that blame. Ergo, Chip "defended Russia" from my blame. Next!

sacjon Mar 09, 2022 12:04 PM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

CHIP - "Blaming Russia for everything is getting a little tired." Uh...... who invaded Ukraine? I'm not blaming them for "everything," but sure are blaming them for that and the resulting catapult in gas prices...... Your hate for liberals and Biden has evolved to such an extent that you jump to defend Russia when confronted with the fact that the invasion caused a skyrocket in prices.

sacjon Mar 09, 2022 11:39 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

SAIL - who's ecosystem is more at risk? Inland prairies or coastal? I'm just saying that if you are going to demand we produce more oil in our country, why would we put that production and transportation in the most delicate and environmentally sensitive areas? Yeah, it IS NIMBYism, but it's just my backyard, it's the "backyard" of millions of species, including hundreds, if not thousands, endangered species. An oil catastrophe on our coast would arguably be more detrimental than an inland prairie/desert. It's just a cold hard fact that there exists a FAR larger number flora and fauna along our coasts.

Why put them at risk just to avoid being called a "NIMBY?"

Chip of SB Mar 09, 2022 11:24 AM
Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

Agreed voice! Blaming Russia for everything is getting a little tired. The previous administration prioritized the expansion of domestic energy production in order to achieve energy independence and encouraged Europe to do the same. The previous administration promoted the construction of the keystone pipeline at home and advocated against the completion of the nord stream 2 pipeline to Russia. The current administration prioritized the reduction of domestic energy production, cancelled the keystone pipeline project, and promoted the construction of the nord stream 2 pipeline to Russia. The results of these policy changes were increasing energy prices, increasing reliance on Russian and other foreign energy sources, increasing profit for Putin and other foreign energy producers, and reduced energy security for the us and Europe. All of these changes occurred prior to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

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