SB County to Hold Public Hearings on ExxonMobil’s Plan to Restart Offshore Platforms, Truck Oil

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Source: Environmental Defense Center

The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission will hold online public hearings Sept. 29 and Oct. 1 on ExxonMobil’s proposal to transport oil by tanker trucks along hazardous California highways so it can restart three drilling platforms off the Santa Barbara coast.  

The plan calls for up to 24,800 oil-filled truck trips per year on coastal Highway 101 and hazardous Route 166, 24 hours a day, to refineries for up to seven years or whenever a new coastal oil pipeline is completed, whichever is shorter. 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 along the California coast. 

ExxonMobil’s oil trucking scheme is strongly opposed by a coalition of 35 community and conservation organizations, who recently sent a letter urging the commission to reject the project. They cited the project’s threat of more offshore oil spills, fueling climate change, and endangering motorists and communities with dangerous oil tanker truck crashes.    

“Now is not the time to turn the clock back and return to our old ways of relying on fossil fuels to meet our energy needs,” the letter concludes. “The County of Santa Barbara is moving towards a clean energy future by adopting renewable energy targets and joining the Central Coast Community Energy program. Allowing ExxonMobil to resume oil production off our coast will lead to decades of fossil fuel production that we cannot afford.” 

What: Santa Barbara County Planning Commission hearings on ExxonMobil’s oil trucking plan and related environmental documents.   

When: Sept. 29 and Oct. 1, starting at 9 a.m. both days. 

Where: Online hearings will be livestreamed at: 

California suffers hundreds of oil-truck incidents a year, and many result in oil spills. There were 258 trucking accidents along the route from 2015 to 2021, California Highway Patrol data shows, resulting in 10 deaths and 110 injuries. A tanker truck crashed off Highway 166 in March 2020, spilling more than 4,500 gallons of oil into the Cuyama River above Twitchell Reservoir. 

A majority of Santa Barbara County voters say they oppose proposals to restart 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 coalition opposing ExxonMobil’s trucking plan includes Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation, 350 Santa Barbara, the Center for Biological Diversity, Climate First: Replacing Oil and Gas (CFROG), Environmental Defense Center, Food and Water Action, GOO!, SBCAN, Sierra Club’s Los Padres Chapter, UCSB Associated Students External Vice President for Statewide Affairs Esmeralda Quintero-Cubillan, UCSB Environmental Affairs Board (EAB), Surfrider Foundation Santa Barbara County Chapter, Los Padres ForestWatch, the Goleta Goodland Coalition, the Cuyama Valley Community Association and the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation. 

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Babycakes Sep 30, 2021 12:01 PM
SB County to Hold Public Hearings on ExxonMobil’s Plan to Restart Offshore Platforms, Truck Oil

SacJon: It wasn't that hard or expensive to do (partially converting to solar, landscaping, extra water storage). We thought my reduced water usage would lower the amount on our monthly city bill, but the water rates were adjusted upward, so there's not that much in the way of saving money. That's okay though because the changes make us feel good about "chipping in" to reduce water and electricity usage. Plus, when friends and visitors come by they often ask for advice on what they can do at their homes to help save the environment. Of course we pass our knowledge on to anyone and everyone who asks for it. It's all good, and our yard looks great!

Ahlia Sep 30, 2021 07:59 AM
SB County to Hold Public Hearings on ExxonMobil’s Plan to Restart Offshore Platforms, Truck Oil

Reliance on Dirty Oil (& coal) should have been phased out long ago & would have been if we were not allowing ourselves to be controlled by big greedy corporations. I find it sadly ironic that someone who calls themselves "LORAX" is telling us what "we" humans need and not remembering what we humans are doing to our planet. Perhaps Lorax should re-watch that film again. The Lorax speaks for the trees.

fitz Sep 30, 2021 07:48 AM
SB County to Hold Public Hearings on ExxonMobil’s Plan to Restart Offshore Platforms, Truck Oil

Lorax: The oil industry needs to come up with some new rationale for these oil projects in SB County. The public no longer buys their pat arguments. The members of the public who spoke against the project did their homework. It seemed there were 7 speakers against for every speaker (mostly employees) for. A packet of signatures is meaningless to those having to read all the documents and make these decisions.........paid signature gatherers? Who knows how those signatures were obtained? Oil jobs are small in number and many of those workers do not live in SB County. Tax revenue from oil makes up about .08% of the tax base in the County. More taxes probably come from the small community of Cuyama than from oil production. And we heard quite a bit from Cuyama residents who would suffer the most from the added truck traffic and potential for an accident on 166. The public sees and reads about the negative impacts of climate change on a daily basis: wildfires, debris flows, sea level rise. The oil industry needs to transition away from fossil fuels.

Lorax Sep 30, 2021 04:53 AM
SB County to Hold Public Hearings on ExxonMobil’s Plan to Restart Offshore Platforms, Truck Oil

Hopefully the BOS will vote intelligently instead of politically.
We need oil, good paying jobs and revenues for schools! Exxon's safety record is excellent , they follow all regulations which are the strictest in California. If we don't support clean domestic oil, it will be imported from 3rd world countries that harm the environment with no or few regulations,. The outcome Economicaly & environmentaly would be at a much greater cost.
Beware of shallow political statements!

Chip of SB Sep 30, 2021 11:41 AM
SB County to Hold Public Hearings on ExxonMobil’s Plan to Restart Offshore Platforms, Truck Oil

Pit, you consume a substantial amount of oil products, and fuel is not even the majority of it. Your oil will be produced somewhere. If you buy it from overseas, you can be assured that it will be produced with a much greater environmental impact. Stopping local oil production and buying our oil from less environmentally responsible producers in far away countries instead does not seem to be a benefit to the environment.

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