Goleta Opposes Proposal to Truck Offshore Oil on California Highways
February 19, 2019
GOLETA, Calif. — The Goleta City Council today voted to oppose ExxonMobil’s proposal to restart its dormant offshore drilling platforms and truck that oil up California’s coastal highway and across Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Kern Counties.
ExxonMobil’s three offshore drilling platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel have been idle since a coastal oil pipeline that served them failed in 2015, causing a massive oil spill that blackened Santa Barbara area beaches and killed hundreds of birds and marine animals.
The company now proposes to transport that oil to processing facilities using up to 70 oil tanker trucks a day on narrow, winding highways and roads, all day and all night, risking explosive crashes and oil spills along California’s Central Coast and the Santa Maria watershed. Their annual cargo of 4 million barrels of oil would emit carbon pollution equivalent to burning two billion pounds of coal.
“We applaud the City of Goleta for standing up to ExxonMobil and protecting our coast,” said Linda Krop, chief counsel for the Environmental Defense Center, which represents Get Oil Out! and Santa Barbara County Action Network in fighting the proposal. “ExxonMobil’s proposal would expose the public to the risk of oil tanker accidents, increased air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and another oil spill along the California Coast.”
“Opposition to offshore oil is at record highs in California, and that is particularly true here in Goleta, which was closest to the 2015 oil spill. Pipelines are risky enough, but trucks are even worse,” said Katie Davis, chair of the Sierra Club’s Santa Barbara Group. During the Thomas Fire, when people were evacuating, a tanker truck accident shut down the 101 in Goleta. If this happened on the Gaviota coast, we would have no way around it.”
“ExxonMobil’s proposal to truck oil 140 miles threatens California’s highways and coastline,” said Blake Kopcho, an ocean campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Allowing oil trucks 24 hours a day to serve three decrepit offshore drilling platforms is a double whammy. Californians want to end dirty drilling off our coast, not resurrect aging oil platforms and invite a steady stream of tanker trucks onto our roadways.”
The most recent federal highway data show there were 55,633 large trucks involved in injury crashes in 2016, killing 4,213 people. Oil tanker trucks carry the additional risk of explosions and oil spills on a proposed trucking route along the Pacific Ocean and through habitat for several endangered species.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
The Environmental Defense Center is a public interest law firm that protects and enhances the environment through education, advocacy, and legal action.