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The Santa Barbara County in California rejected this week a proposal from ExxonMobil to transport oil via tanker trucks that would have been a step toward restarting three oil platforms offshore Santa Barbara in federal waters.
The pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline, which used to transport oil from the three platforms ruptured in 2015, causing a major spill and forcing ExxonMobil to suspend production from the three platforms.
As an interim solution, the U.S. supermajor applied in 2017 for an interim trucking permit from Santa Barbara County that would allow temporary transport of crude to market and allow a phased restart of the Santa Ynez Unit (SYU) facilities, consisting of an onshore oil and natural gas processing facility near Goleta, California, as well as three offshore platforms — Hondo, Heritage, and Harmony.
Exxon’s plan was to use up to 24,820 tanker trucks annually on the 101 Freeway and Highway 166 for up to seven years, or until the pipeline is repaired or replaced.
But now, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors rejected the proposal from ExxonMobil in a 3-2 vote, citing environmental concerns.
Commenting on the decision, Exxon said in a statement carried by the Associated Press: “We disagree with the decision, which disregards our employees, contractors and countless others working in California’s oil and gas industry who depend on these jobs to support their families.”
“ExxonMobil has met all of the requirements for issuance of the permit, which has gone through extensive environmental review and public comment,” it added.
According to one of the Supervisors of the County of Santa Barbara, Steve Lavagnino, California is years away from replacing oil and gas with clean energy sources.
“Exxon’s trucking proposal was a step in the wrong direction on climate and put Californians and our coastal resources in harm’s way from spills, crashes, pollution and fires,” the Environmental Affairs Board at University of California at Santa Barbara said in a joint statement with several environmental campaign groups.
Santa Barbara’s decision comes as gasoline prices in America are surging. As of March 9, the average gasoline price in California was $5.573 per gallon, and the national average was $4.252, per AAA data.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.