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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. Jan. 16, 2019 — The San Luis Obispo City Council last night voted to oppose two proposals that would restart ExxonMobil’s dormant offshore drilling platforms and transport that oil up California’s coastline.
Plains All American Pipeline has applied to build a new coastal oil pipeline to replace its corroded pipeline that caused the 2015 Refugio Oil Spill, for which a jury found the company criminally negligent. That oil spill blackened Santa Barbara area beaches, killed hundreds of birds and marine animals and idled the offshore drilling platforms it served.
ExxonMobil is also trying to restart its three offshore platforms by sending oil tanker trucks through Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Kern counties. The proposal would place up to 70 oil tanker trucks a day on narrow, winding highways and roads, all day and all night, risking explosive crashes and oil spills along California’s Central Coast and the Cuyama River.
“Kudos to the council for opposing these toxic plans to move vast volumes of dirty, dangerous oil along our beautiful coast,” said Miyoko Sakashita, ocean program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Californians shouldn’t have to choose between coastal oil pipelines and oil tanker trucks on coastal highways. Both are bad news for wildlife and our climate. We need to phase out offshore drilling, not give it a new lease on life.”
Both the ExxonMobil trucking plan and Plains Pipeline proposal are currently being considered by Santa Barbara County. ExxonMobil’s draft environmental impact report and the launching of Plains’ environment review could be released at any time.
The most recent federal highway data show there were 55,633 large trucks involved in injury crashes in 2016, killing 4,213 people. Oil tanker trucks carry the additional risk of explosions and oil spills on a proposed trucking route along the Pacific Ocean and through habitat for several endangered species.
“As it happens, this is a wonderful kickoff for Our Climate Resolutions week,” said Andrew Christie, director of the Sierra Club’s Santa Lucia Chapter. “Starting Monday, people will be coming together in communities across the country to generate New Year’s climate resolutions, collectively envisioning the future we want and beginning to generate plans for how we can all work to enact that future. The SLO City Council just took a big step in that direction.”