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Oil company wants to use Central Coast highways to truck offshore crude oil

Joshua Green/Flickr
ExxonMobile's Hondo platform in the Santa Babara Channel.

The2015 Refugio oil spillin Santa Barbara County dumped an estimated 140,000 gallons of crude oil onto area beaches. It also effectively shut down operations at three offshore oil platforms.

That's because the spill was caused by a corroded pipeline that, before it ruptured, conveyed the offshore oil to onshore processing facilities. Now an oil company is seeking to restart offshore drilling by using tanker trucks to move the crude oil around once it gets to shore.

According to Santa Barbara County Planning and Development, ExxonMobil wants to start trucking the crude oil seven days a week, 24 hours a day, using “no more than“ 70 trucks a day. Each tanker truck would travel up to 140 miles along Highway 101 and Highway 166.

ExxonMobil has filed an application with Santa Barbara County for permission to start trucking that crude oil between its Los Flores Canyon Facility, located a few miles west of Goleta, and to both the Phillips 66 Santa Maria Terminal and the Pentland terminal in Maricopa, CA.

This week, county staff held a public hearing on the extent of the environmental review the application will trigger.

Several organizations, like the Sierra Club and Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas, rallied before the meeting to oppose the plan.

Santa Barbara County staff asked for public comment as the county begins review of ExxonMobile’s application.

The Texas-based owners of the pipeline that caused the Refugio oil spill, Plains Pipeline, LP,submitted an application to replace the broken Plains All American Pipeline, also known as Line 901, in April of this year.

The environmental review of ExxonMobil’s application will take several months; it is estimated to come before the Santa Barbara County board of supervisors next summer.

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