Environmental Group Applauds Denial of Exxon Oil Trucking Proposal

Proposal would have exacerbated oil spill risk on California’s Gaviota Coast

Santa Barbara, CA. The Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”) applauded the decision today by the County of Santa Barbara Planning and Development Department to deny ExxonMobil’s application to truck oil from Santa Barbara County following the massive oil spill from the Plains All American Pipeline.

“Allowing Exxon to truck oil, in the face of the disaster already facing our shores, would make an incredibly bad situation even worse,” observed Linda Krop, Chief Counsel of the Environmental Defense Center. Krop had submitted a formal request to the County, seeking denial of ExxonMobil’s trucking application. “At a time when our beaches are closed and oil is spreading throughout Southern California, it is no time to talk about allowing dangerous trucking of oil on our public highways and city streets.”

ExxonMobil had applied to the County for an emergency permit to truck oil due to the shutdown of the Plains All American Pipeline, following the May 19 oil spill. According to ExxonMobil’s application, the pipeline shutdown could eventually result in shutting down operations from its offshore oil platforms, thus allegedly depriving SoCal Gas of natural gas supplies necessary to serve its customers. Exxon’s application, however, failed to substantiate its claim that the public would see a reduction in service.

“Now is the time to clean up our beaches and the ocean, and focus on recovery,” said Krop. “Now is not the time to impose additional risks, not just to the environment but also to public safety.” The trucking route identified by Exxon covers a dangerous section of Highway One on the Gaviota Coast, known for its sharp curves and severe winds. This area is known for its high accident rate.

ExxonMobil proposed to send almost 200 oil trucks per day up the coast, to destinations in Santa Maria or southern San Luis Obispo County. An accident involving one of these large trucks, each carrying up to 8,000 gallons of crude oil, would threaten the Gaviota Coast and Santa Barbara Channel, otherwise known as the Galapagos of North America. This region is home to many endangered and rare plants and animals, including the largest seasonal population of blue whales on the planet. Already hundreds of seabirds and marine mammals, including brown pelicans, dolphins, sea lions and elephant seals, have been injured or killed as a result of the oil spill.

In addition to opposing ExxonMobil’s trucking application, EDC recently helped reinstate the authority of the Coastal Commission to assist with the oil spill response and recovery and submitted recommendations to improve federal pipeline safety regulations.

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Environmental Defense Center, a non-profit law firm, protects and enhances the environment through education, advocacy, and legal action and works primarily within Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties. Founded in response to the 1969 Oil Spill more than 40 years ago, EDC has represented itself and other organizations to advance environmental protection. Learn more about EDC at www.EnvironmentalDefenseCenter.org.

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