Chambers of Commerce from across Santa Barbara County are coming together to voice their support for the restart of ExxonMobil’s Santa Ynez Unit (SYU). The newly formed Santa Barbara County Chamber Coalition commissioned a report from the California Economic Forecast into the economic and fiscal impacts of restoring SYU’s interim and full oil production in Santa Barbara County. The findings from this study show that a lot is at stake, not only for the employees and their families but for our county.
This facility has been idle since May 2015. Until a pipeline alternative becomes available, ExxonMobil is pursuing a temporary trucking permit to transport crude oil to market — allowing for a phased restart of SYU. The interim trucking proposal would result in the creation of hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in new income and spending.
Restarting SYU will create a meaningful increase in funding to Santa Barbara County public safety, fire protection, local government services and the local K-14 public school system. Key findings of the report tie the vital funding missing from Santa Barbara County to the shutdown of SYU.
After SYU shut down, many employees were relocated or laid off. We have a chance to bring these families back home. Restarting SYU will add 218 direct jobs with average salaries that are 27 percent higher than the average county resident salary.
In addition to well-paying, family-supporting jobs, restarting SYU will provide millions in additional annual revenues to the Santa Barbara County General Fund, K-14 schools including Allan Hancock Community College and to Santa Barbara County Fire. This project would provide more resources for some of the highest need schools in Santa Barbara County.
The numbers don’t lie. Restarting SYU will provide $1.07 million per year to the County Fire Department, which could help increase staffing and training, in addition to covering their equipment needs.
It will increase total education funding by $4.93 million per year. Many North County schools stand to benefit, including Santa Ynez Valley High School, Lompoc Unified, Allan Hancock Community College, and more.
An additional $1.8 million per year will go toward the Santa Barbara County General Fund, which pays for public safety, roads, libraries, foodbanks, and flood control.
The revenues generated by the SYU facility go to fund our local schools, police, firefighters, and more. We simply can’t wait any longer — we must restart SYU now. We encourage the Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors to consider this matter post-haste and to support this temporary trucking permit. It is long overdue.
(Update of September 13, 2019) The author of the report, California Economic Forecast, updated the findings stated in the above article as follows: $800,000 per year to local Santa Barbara fire protection, $4.51 million per year to local Santa Barbara schools and $1.98 million per year to Santa Barbara County’s General Fund. For a full list of SYU restart property tax recipients, please refer to page 34 of the report. —KM
About the Santa Barbara County Chamber Coalition: The Santa Barbara County Chamber Coalition was formed to support bringing back jobs and economic vitality to Santa Barbara County through a phased restart of the Santa Ynez Unit. The coalition consists of the Goleta Chamber of Commerce, Buellton Chamber of Commerce and Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce.