ExxonMobil facility in Las Flores Canyon
Paul Wellman (file)

Cars Are Basic (CAB), a public watchdog group based in Santa Barbara County, CA, is submitting this comment to the County Planning Department on the proposed Exxon Mobil Interim Trucking project.

CAB supports the development of oil and gas reserves located in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). To this end, we have submitted three comment letters to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) supporting President Trump’s America First Energy Policy, which includes a new five-year leasing plan for the OCS.

ExxonMobil is a major player in the OCS. This includes three platforms located off the coast of Santa Barbara County. ExxonMobil transported oil produced from those three platforms through the Plains All American Line 901 and 903 pipeline. In May 2015, Line 901 ruptured. Both lines 901 and 903 have been shut down since the rupture.

Exxon wishes to now transport 10,000-12,000 barrels a day via truck from its Las Flores Canyon oil processing facility to pumping stations located outside of lines 901 and 903. This is a fraction of the capacity of the Line 901/903 pipeline, which can transport 300,000 barrels a day.

In our comment letters to the BOEM, CAB has called for the Trump administration to include oil and gas infrastructure in the president’s proposed $1 trillion to $2 trillion infrastructure plan. Currently, the president’s infrastructure plan does not include any oil and gas infrastructure projects. We have called for a $100 million to $200 million federal government investment in oil and gas facilities located in Santa Barbara County, and at least $5 billion nationwide.

When new oil and gas leases are awarded for OCS tracts located off of Santa Barbara County, the existing ExxonMobil facilities in the county may very well be utilized to process the new oil production. This would include the facility at Las Flores Canyon. Common sense would dictate that Las Flores be rebuilt to prepare the facility to safely and cleanly handle the new production. This would include safety and environmental upgrades to the facility above and beyond what is required by law, statute, or permit.

To be blunt, the idea of transporting 10,000-12,000 barrels of crude oil a day via truck is an unattractive idea that will garner little support, even from those people who support oil and gas production. CAB is surprised that ExxonMobil did not stop and consider the terrible optics of the proposed trucking plan.

CAB’s alternative to the trucking plan is this:

• Exxon Mobil ask the Trump Administration to include oil and gas infrastructure in the president’s infrastructure plan.

• Expedite the rebuilding of the Line 901/903 pipeline, and increase the capacity to 500,000 barrels per day.

• Rebuild the Las Flores facility and production pipelines serving the facility during the time the Line 901/903 pipeline is being rebuilt.

• Exxon Mobil support the reopening of the OCS off the coast of California to new leasing and production.

• Work with the Trump administration to upgrade all oil and gas facilities with the latest safety and environmental equipment. This would include processing facilities, pipelines, production platforms, pumps, and valves.


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