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ExxonMobil subsidiary PPC withdraws pipeline project in Santa Barbara County

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — ExxonMobil subsidiary, Pacific Pipeline Company, withdrew it's oil Replacement Pipeline Project application on Tuesday.

According to PPC Venture Manager Andrew Craig in a press release sent to Santa Barbara County, the company under ExxonMobil will reportedly focus on restarting the existing lines off the county's coast that it purchased from Plains All American Pipeline.

The conclusion to restarting the existing pipelines were made after a federal environmental review and a permitting process. Craig says constructing a second pipeline is "unnecessary and avoidable."

"Recent inspections and analysis affirms this initial view that it would not make sense to continue the permitting process when the existing pipeline can be responsibly restarted," Craig wrote in a press release. "There is also a high degree of local permitting and business uncertainty created by recent actions that has impacted investment commitment as well as timing assurances to customers."

The 901/903 RPP application was first introduced in 2017. PPC planned to make a smaller-diameter pipeline that would predominantly be in the same route as the existing pipeline.

Environmental Groups Criticize move by PPC

In a press release, the Environmental Defense Center alleges PPC's plan to restart the pipeline will "allow the company to restart its onshore Las Flores Canyon processing facility," claiming when it was operational it "was the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Santa Barbara County."

EDC represents the advocacy group Get Oil Out! Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara County Action Network organization, and its own members — all opposing the pipeline projects.

“At this stage of the climate crisis, building new oil infrastructure is reckless, to say the least," said EDC Deputy Chief Counsel Maggie Hall in a press release. “However, restarting a corroded and compromised pipeline that already caused one massive oil spill is even worse. There is no way for the pipeline owners to credibly claim it will be safe. If this pipeline is allowed to restart, it’s not a question of if, but when it will be responsible for another catastrophe.”

2015 Refugio Oil Spill

Refugio oil spill, 2015.

In May 19, 2015 the pipelines, PPC allegedly plans to restart, were shut down after its pipeline from offshore platforms contaminated the Gaviota Coast north of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, spilling over 123,000 gallons of crude oil into the sea.

An investigation into the oil spill found former pipeline owners PAAP at fault for failing to detect the leak and the pipe corrosion that caused the oil spill. The findings ultimately led to the U.S. District Court ruling Plains guilty.

ExxonMobil and PPC's recent plans

In the summer, PPC purchased the same pipeline that caused the oil spill and tried to get safety valves installed so it would meet state requirements for operating. But since a split decision from the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors hearing was made, no action was taken.

PPC are able to apply in less than the year for another application, according to the Board of Supervisors.

Over a month ago, ExxonMobil tried to restart its offshore oil production by planning to send 24,820 oil tanker trucks through Highway 101 and State Route 166 for up to seven years, but the move was denied by a U.S. District Judge in Los Angeles.

Article Topic Follows: Top Stories
Exxon Mobil Corporation
Refugio Oil Spill
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Bryan Hernandez

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