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ExxonMobil is denied a trucking plan for its Santa Barbara County oil

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The ExxonMobil request to begin trucking oil from Santa Barbara County to other facilities has been denied by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.

The plan was previously denied by the county Planning Commission in November of last year.

The latest hearing was an appeal.

ExxonMobil used the All American pipeline to move its offshore oil to on shore facilities until the pipeline break in 2015 at Refugio.

The company said it has a permit from the 1980's that says when no other option is available, trucking is allowed.

The request is temporary for seven years, or less if a new or repaired pipeline is ready.

ExxonMobil also says it will only truck to Santa Maria and go over to Kern County if Santa Maria is not available, and it will not truck in the rain.

Environmentalists say trucking is dangerous, spills have occurred, the risks are too great for the public and the environment if a tanker overturns en route to a refinery.

Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams said in his opposition, "now with the slated closure of the Santa Maria pump station in the next year or so, truck trips will be shifted to Kern county, the duration of the project.  Not only does this minimize the previously stated benefit of the project that the project would reduce truck trips, it puts many trucks on the road traveling very far causing environmental impacts over the entire route."

In support, Supervisor Steve Lavagnino said while he supports fuel alternatives and clean energy, it's years away from being a main stream choice.

"The reality is as much as we want that to happen, as much as I have voted for it to happen, it's not there yet and we have to continue to produce fossil fuels as we transition," said Lavagnino.

Many workers in or related to the oil industry spoke to the Board of Supervisors about the benefits of their employment and urged them to keep the good paying jobs in the county.

There were also concerns about the benefits of local production and less reliance on foreign supplies, a common theme these days with the Russia-Ukraine war underway.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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