ExxonMobil Dismisses Court Bid to Truck Oil in Santa Barbara

Environmental Organizations Celebrate Dismissal as End of Plan to Revive Offshore Platforms


ExxonMobil is abandoning its legal challenge against Santa Barbara county, effectively ending the company’s proposal to transport truckloads of oil up and down the coast, and halting its plan to revive three shutdown drilling platforms off the Gaviota shore.

The proposal would have allowed the company to truck millions of gallons of oil per week on Highway 101 and Route 166 in what was seen as an effort to resume operations in the region and restart three offshore platforms that were shutdown following the 2015 oil spill in Refugio. When the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors denied the plan, ExxonMobil filed a lawsuit challenging the decision. On Thursday, ExxonMobil notified the U.S. District Court that it would be dismissing its lawsuit following an immense amount of pushback from environmentalists and advocates, including those from the Environmental Defense Center and the Center for Biological Diversity.

“ExxonMobil’s plan to restart its offshore platforms and truck millions of gallons per week through Santa Barbara county was reckless, dangerous and totally unwelcome by this community,” said Linda Krop, chief counsel of the Environmental Defense Center. “Recent oil tanker truck accidents and offshore oil spills show just how dangerous this plan was. Our research revealed that there have been eight serious accidents involving tanker trucks along the proposed route in the last several years, resulting in deaths, oil spills, injuries, fires, and road closures.

The county’s denial was upheld by the courts in September 2023, although there were still claims that were not yet settled in the case. ExxonMobil’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit, as well as the company’s recent sale of its Santa Ynez assets, is considered as the abandonment of plans to resume operations along the Central Coast.

“It’s welcome news that Exxon’s dangerous trucking scheme is done with, but the fight to keep California’s coast safe from oil spills is far from over,” said Julie Teel Simmonds, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “All oil companies should take note that California’s coastal communities don’t want oil drilling and transport that puts people and wildlife at risk. We’ll work hard to make sure no company has an opportunity to cause California’s next catastrophic oil spill or accident.”

Environmentalists worked alongside Indigenous groups to oppose the company’s plan, and the dismissal is being celebrated as a win in the war against big oil in Santa Barbara county.

“Exxon has long been one of the most heinous polluters of Chumash homelands,” said Mati Waiya, executive director of the Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation. “We celebrate this massive victory against Exxon and warn any and all future resource extractors that we will not stop fighting.”

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, California suffers hundreds of oil-truck incidents a year, and many result in oil spills. There were 258 trucking accidents along the planned route from 2015 to 2021. Since 2007, eight oil tanker truck accidents have occurred that resulted in six deaths, multiple injuries, fires, road closures, and oil spills. In 2020, Santa Barbara county planning staff recommended a prohibition on oil tanker trucks on Route 166 after a major accident spilled more than 4,500 gallons into the Cuyama River.

Source: Independent.com

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About Stu Turley 3277 Articles
Stuart Turley is President and CEO of Sandstone Group, a top energy data, and finance consultancy working with companies all throughout the energy value chain. Sandstone helps both small and large-cap energy companies to develop customized applications and manage data workflows/integration throughout the entire business. With experience implementing enterprise networks, supercomputers, and cellular tower solutions, Sandstone has become a trusted source and advisor.   He is also the Executive Publisher of www.energynewsbeat.com, the best source for 24/7 energy news coverage, and is the Co-Host of the energy news video and Podcast Energy News Beat. Energy should be used to elevate humanity out of poverty. Let's use all forms of energy with the least impact on the environment while being sustainable without printing money. Stu is also a co-host on the 3 Podcasters Walk into A Bar podcast with David Blackmon, and Rey Trevino. Stuart is guided by over 30 years of business management experience, having successfully built and help sell multiple small and medium businesses while consulting for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He holds a B.A in Business Administration from Oklahoma State and an MBA from Oklahoma City University.