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Santa Barbara City Council opposes proposed oil trucking plan

SB oil transportation plan
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Under a new plan, up to 70 trucks would transport oil each day from west of Santa Barbara to a site near Santa Maria and another in Kern County.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara City Council agreed to a resolution Tuesday night opposing a proposed Exxon/Mobil plan that would restart oil production off the South Coast.

All members of the City Council voted for the resolution except for Alejandra Gutierrez, who abstained.

The plan would restart the offshore oil drilling platforms near Santa Barbara and begin trucking the oil up the coast.

Under the plan, up to 70 trucks would transport the oil each day, driving from a facility west of Goleta up the Gaviota Coast and on to two different sites, one near Santa Maria and another in southwestern Kern County.

City leaders worry that accidents involving those trucks on Highway 101 or Highway 166 could lead to an oil spill with severe environmental consequences.

Oil flow has been stopped offshore since 2015, when the Plains All American Pipeline oil spill caused an environmental disaster in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Santa Barbara County released an environmental impact report on the proposed plan, listing potential environmental concerns and offering some alternatives, including plans with fewer trucks on the road each day.

Some callers in public comment during Tuesday's City Council meeting, however, said the report does not go far enough to address the risks of Exxon/Mobil's plan.

Other callers opposed the resolution, saying the plan would carry strict safety regulations and bring much-needed jobs and revenue back to local communities.

The City Council resolution could put more pressure on the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission, which is to hold hearings on the plan, and vote on it, early next month.

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Ryan Fish

Ryan Fish is a reporter, sports anchor and forecaster for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Ryan, click here.

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