Santa Barbara County Considers Allowing Oil Tanker Trucks on Coastal Highway
SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— Opponents of offshore oil drilling will hold a rally before Wednesday’s hearing on ExxonMobil’s proposal to restart three dormant offshore drilling platforms. The plan involves trucking oil through Santa Barbara County communities along a scenic coastal highway and dangerous mountain road.
ExxonMobil wants permission from the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission to use a fleet of up to 70 oil trucks 24 hours a day, seven days a week to carry oil from the platforms. The oil was previously transported by a corroded pipeline that caused the Refugio oil spill.
“These huge trucks full of highly flammable crude would pose an unacceptable threat on Santa Barbara’s coastal highways,” said Kristen Monsell, oceans legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The planning commission should reject this dangerous proposal. It’s unfair for county residents to shoulder this risk just so ExxonMobil can bring its decrepit drilling platforms back online.”
This is the second time ExxonMobil has sought a permit to truck oil so that the company can keep drilling offshore. The company’s offshore drilling operations were shut down following the 2015 failure of the Plains All American Pipeline, which dumped more than 120,000 gallons of oil into Santa Barbara’s coastal environment.
ExxonMobil’s current application seeks permission to send tanker trucks loaded with nearly 500,000 gallons of crude oil over a 140-mile route that includes Highway 101 and Highway 166.
“This plan will have a significant impact on neighborhood and regional air quality,” said Kimberly Rivers, executive director at Citizens For Responsible Oil & Gas. “The many risks associated with this plan are not worth it, and our region needs to begin shifting our economy and land use away from fossil fuel-based sectors.”
What: Protest against ExxonMobil’s application to truck offshore oil through Santa Barbara County precedes an environmental scoping hearing by the Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Office.
When: Wednesday, July 11. Rally starts at 5 p.m. Hearing begins at 6 p.m.
Where: Planning Commission Hearing Room, 123 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara
Who: Center for Biological Diversity, Wishtoyo Foundation, Ocean Protectors Coalition, Food and Water Watch, Sierra Club, 350.org, Citizens for Responsible Oil & Gas, Get Oil Out! and other offshore drilling opponents.