Tankers Away

After hearing and reading about the oil tanker truck accident with 4,500 gallons of crude oil spilling into the Cuyama River above Twitchell Reservoir (and required containment boom and earth dams to prevent contamination of the main reservoir source of Santa Maria water, on March 21, 2020), I realized that one news source did not make the connection to the ExxonMobil oil trucking project for the 101 and 166. ExxonMobil wants to open drilling and begin 70 tanker trucking trips per day on this dangerous highway.

I spoke at the May 6, 2019, S.B. County public comment meeting about this colossal folly to allow tanker trucking, night and day, on the precarious, dangerous highway. I read descriptions about Highway 166 from Trip Advisor to reveal the winding, two-lane road conditions, with passers, high-speed drivers, lots of big rigs, a steep grade into Maricopa, and advice not to pull a trailer if possible. It didn’t take a crystal ball to foresee a significant oil spill accident; one must use common sense, knowing that all oil spills are toxic and expensive. This spill was like a bull’s eye into the river. Luckily, the driver and people in other cars were not killed.

Please readers, while you’re hunkered down, make your knowledge of this connection known to Ms. Lehr with the county of SB (klehr@countyofsb.org), and Jacquelyn Ybarra (who made the power point presentation). Keep us connected in our fight for a solid “no-way” verdict on the project.

And remember to mention the Measure A (2012) safety study of the 166 in an attempt to make this dangerous highway somehow safer (with 26 faults listed). Remember to mention that 30 people have died in collisions between 2003 and 2006, and since 1997, more than 40 people have died in accidents. During the 10 day, 101 closure during the Montecito debris flow, many drivers “discovered” and continue to use the dangerous winding, two lane highway. There were five major accidents in those 10 days. On April 6, 2019, two people were killed and three others seriously injured on Hwy 166 east of Santa Maria. Please let the planning commission know that you are aware of the frequent, tragic fatalities and the recent oil tanker accident. Let them know that you are alarmed by the potentially catastrophic repercussions generated by the oil trucking project. Thank you for taking the time to write a quick note. 


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