Planning Commission rejects ExxonMobil’s proposal to truck oil off the coast of Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission voted to reject a proposal by ExxonMobil to temporarily haul oil along Highways 101 and 166, despite approval recommended by planning staff. This essentially prevents the company from restarting three of its offshore drilling rigs.

ExxonMobil’s plan called for nearly 25,000 truck trips per year to transport oil from its Santa Ynez unit to refineries on both highways. This would allow the company to restart three offshore drilling rigs that were closed in 2015 after the Plains All American pipeline ruptured in the region.

In a statement to KCBX News, ExxonMobil said, in part:

“We are disappointed that the planning committee did not adopt the staff recommendations. We also appreciate the continued support of many organizations and community members who recognize the many benefits that resuming safe operations at SYU would bring to Santa Barbara County, including local jobs and millions of vital tax revenues for county schools. , public safety and health services.

Julie Teel Simmonds is Senior Counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of several environmental groups in a coalition opposing the trucking plan. She said the decision of the planning commission came at the right time.

“We feel like the recent catastrophic spill off Orange County only underscores that this commission made the right decision,” Simmonds said.

Simmonds said that even without these kinds of spills, transporting oil from offshore platforms still has devastating effects.

“From impacts on air quality, to impacts on water quality, to impacts on wildlife and habitat,” said Simmonds. “But then add, on top of that, the risk of a spill. It just doesn’t make sense.

ExxonMobile said it continues to maintain its onshore and offshore facilities in a “safe and secure condition”. The company said the Santa Ynez unit’s facilities and related infrastructure underwent extensive environmental reviews during construction. According to the ExxonMobil website, this construction began in 1976.

The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission will hold a formal vote on November 3 to finalize its decision. This decision will serve as a recommendation for future consideration by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

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