On January 28, 2019, protesters from all our coastal communities, including Santa Barbara, gathered together in Camarillo to protest against offshore oil leases at the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Our protests have an effect. Time for us to stand indivisible again in SB!
Action – Attend the Santa Barbara Planning Commission hearing Monday May 6th
Date: Monday, May 6th
Time: Gather at 5:00 pm for pre-meeting rally.
Where: Board of Supervisors Hearing Room, Fourth Floor, Santa Barbara County Administration Building, 105 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
- Sign on to this action letter here.
- Thank our federal legislators for bills to stop all west coast offshore drilling here.
- Go to this meeting. Facebook event listing here, RSVP: here.
What’s happening: The Santa Barbara Planning Commission will consider ExxonMobil’s “Interim Trucking” proposal to restart three oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel, all of which have been shut-down since the disastrous 2015 Plains Pipeline oil spill, and to transport crude oil to their refinery with a continuous stream of tanker trucks on local highways, including Hwy. 101. The project page on County’s website is here. The draft supplimental Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is here. Exxon’s project description here.
The 2015 spill, linked to the deaths of hundreds of sea birds and marine mammals, occurred after a corroded underground pipeline ruptured along a coastal highway west of Santa Barbara on May 19, 2015, sending crude oil onto the shore of Refugio State Beach and into the Pacific. A grand jury indicted Plains All American Pipeline on 46 criminal charges and a California jury found the Houston-based company guilty of felony charges of fouling state waters and harming wildlife. The U.S. Transportation Department report concluded a year after the spill that numerous lapses in safety measures, judgment and planning by Plains led to and worsened the disaster.
(In a separate application, Plains All American Pipeline has applied to build a new 123 mile long oil pipeline along the same route as the old one, which, according to the SB Independent, will involve “bulldozing a 100-foot corridor along the entire route, denuding hundreds of acres of land, crossing three rivers and three counties, crossing over the San Andreas Fault, and enabling Exxon’s offshore production for decades to come — beyond the 2045 date by which California hopes to be carbon neutral.” SB County Project page here.)
ExxonMobil Interim plan involves trucking crude oil 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – up to 70 trucks a day – along dangerous coastal highways through Santa Barbara County. Tanker trucks spill hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil a year, according to a 2009 American Petroleum Institute report (page 42). These oil spills can cause fires and explosions. An Associated Press study of six states where truck traffic has risen because of increased oil and gas drilling found that traffic accident fatalities have more than quadrupled since 2004 in some counties. California suffers hundreds of oil truck incidents a year, and many result in oil spills. One oil truck accident in 2000, for example, killed the driver and spilled nearly 7,000 gallons of oil, a substantial portion of which entered a river and spread to the ocean.
Here’s the proposed route (from the EIR), which crosses numerous waterways.
Please attend the hearing and the 5pm rally beforehand.
All us ocean communities are in this fight together. There are no walls in the ocean between us, we share the beauty of sea birds and mammals, and we all depend on Hwy. 101.
As Katie Davis, SB Independent writer and chair of the Santa Barbara chapter of the Sierra Club stated “Plains’ message to Santa Barbara is a threat. “Exxon has the right to turn those platforms back on, we have the right to repair the existing lines, and we’ve made the decision that is in the best interest of the community where to place it,” Steve Grieg, director of government affairs for Plains Pipeline, was quoted as saying in a news report. They know what’s good for us, and if we don’t let them build a new pipeline, they’ll use the old, leaky one instead. Nice coastline you got there, Santa Barbara; would be a shame if something happened to it. Better let us have a do-over or else.”
We have rights too! Talking points
- We have the right to deny Exxon’s trucking scheme, given that trucking is the least safe way to transport oil. The Transportation and Circulation section of the EIR fails to include the risks of an oil truck accident shutting down the 101, our primary north-south access route. There are numerous examples of incidents, as when a tanker truck shut-down the 101 in Goleta during the Thomas Fire while people were trying to evacuate.
- We have rights to deny projects with unacceptable risks. The EIR should note that many jurisdictions prohibit hazardous chemicals from being transported along waterways, over bridges and tunnels and along critical transportation corridors. The 101 and Gaviota coast fit all of these categories.
- We have the right to deny Plains’ new pipeline. Maybe they could repair their existing corroded pipeline as they threaten to do, but we have the right to ensure it meets stringent state requirements now that they can no longer get away with the looser federal oversight that they sued our county to get in the past. They’ve already shown bad faith over their previous conviction for damages.
- We have the right not to approve any new infrastructure to support offshore oil.
- We have a right, after the devastation of fires and mudslides linked to climate change, to speak our truth to power. Exxon, which has known about climate change for decades and chose to mislead and undermine action, and Plains Pipeline, with its felony negligence, don’t deserve a second chance.”
- We have the right to complete information. The Environmental Impact Report [EIR] is incomplete as it fails to analyze the impacts of restarting Exxon’s offshore platforms and onshore facilities, such as the risk of offshore oil spills.
- We have the right to current, correct information. The EIR cites air pollution from 2012-2014, prior to the 2015 spill as the baseline. It does not include real, current baseline conditions, from 2016-2019, thus radically understates the real increase in emissions and other impacts of the project. Check out the Lung.org results for air quality in SB and Ventura. SB gets a “D” for ozone, and an “F” for particulates. Ventura’s a double fail!