GCC urges denial of emergency trucking application

(Special report by on oil trucks by Becca Claassen of SB Food and Water Watch) Please help us stop Exxon from trucking millions of gallons of toxic crude through our county! And urge our County Board of Supervisors to prioritize a 100% renewable Community Choice Energy program in next year's budget.
Here's the latest report on Exxon's request for 24/7 oil tanker trucks on the 101 in the June 5 LA Times.

Dianne Black will make the decision by Wednesday, as Planning and Development Director Glenn Russell has recused himself due to conflict of interest.
Please sign this petition and attend two very important events this week: 

1) Rally: "Not by Pipelines, nor Trains, nor Tanker Trucks! Renewable Energy Now!"
     This Monday, June 8 at 12 noon (Bring signs and chants!), in Santa Barbara at the County Courthouse Sunken Gardens, 1100 Anacapa St, and in Santa Maria: at City Hall, 110 East Cook St at Broadway.

2) Attend SB County Board of Supervisors Budget Hearing, on Wednesday, June 10, either 11am or 1pm (RSVP to 350santabarbara@gmail.com for a time update). Ask them to allocate funds to Community Choice Energy! This is our region's best chance to decrease our dependence on dirty fossil fuels locally. Santa Barbara: 105 East Anapamu St. 4th floor. Santa Maria: 511 East Lakeside Pkwy.

GCC and Naples Coalition letter urging denial of emergency trucking application

Director Russell and County Staff:

Please accept this brief communication regarding the proposed Emergency Permit requested by Exxon for trucking of oil from the Las Flores Canyon Facility. 

On behalf of the Gaviota Coast Conservancy and Naples Coalition, we oppose this application and ask that you deny it.  There are both inadequate justifications, and an incomplete submittal.  The California Environmental Quality Act mandates environmental review of the application, and the request does not qualify for CEQA’s emergency exemption, which clearly requires a “clear and imminent danger demanding immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of . . . essential public services.  CEQA Guidelines sec 15359. 

The applicant’s contrived justification clearly fails this test.  There is no imminent danger – only a future gas shortage, if the application were to be believed.  The application states there are at least 30 days before wells must be shut in, allowing time for SoCalGas to address the potential shortfall.  Significantly, summer is our low natural gas use period, so demand is reduced.  Finally, the County recently approved and SoCalGas has completed a substantial expansion of its reservoir capacity at the La Goleta Plant with one of the justifications being to be able to weather supply interruptions.   The applicant’s justification is untenable and fails to qualify as an emergency under CEQA and the coastal zoning ordinance.

Any future natural gas shortfall cannot meet CEQA’s definition of an emergency, and thus no exemption is available and this proposal is subject to complete environmental review.  The project entails a number of potentially significant impacts to air quality, public safety, traffic and circulation, ESHA and biological resources, visual resources, recreational resources and is inconsistency with land use policies adopted to protect the environment.   Similarly under the County’s zoning ordinances, the situation does not justify the findings of emergency necessary to approve proposed permit.

GCC and the Naples Coalition are deeply concerned with the risks associated with handling of crude oil and natural gas, with toxic air emissions, with the loss of recreational resources from increased traffic, from impacts to the Gaviota Coast’s visual resources from additional industrialization and a constant flow of trucks, risks to terrestrial and marine habitat, impacts to cultural and spiritual resources, and the increased potential for another oil spill from the facility or from the trucks. 

We ask that you deny this application.

Please place this office on the mailing list to receive notice of your decision in this matter and any related proceedings.

Yours,

Marc Chytilo

For Gaviota Coast Conservancy and Naples Coalition

 

As reported by Becca Claassen of Food and Water Watch, "Pipelines are supposed to be the safest way to transport oil, and yet we are in the midst of a devastating oil spill from a burst pipeline. In addition, Phillips 66 Refinery wants to bring hundreds of millions of gallons of highly explosive crude through our communities by rail, AND Exxon has the audacity to request permission to expose our communities to numerous hazards associated with tanker trucks."
"The County must protect the health and safety of Santa Barbara County residents and the environment by rejecting Exxon Mobil’s permit request to drive 196 trucks through Santa Barbara County to haul out nearly one million gallons of toxic crude oil each day."
"Transporting oil by truck is uncommon because it’s so dangerous. In fact, research shows that a high incidence of spills makes trucking the most dangerous way to transport petroleum. In addition, an increase in truck traffic will result in wear-and-tear on our roads, along with an increase in toxic diesel emissions that threaten our health and increase our carbon footprint. Rather than looking for increasingly unsafe ways to transport oil to protect industry profits, county officials should be looking to move Santa Barbara off of oil to protect Santa Barbara residents from future disasters."
"Clean-up is still underway from the catastrophic spill at Refugio State Beach of more than 100,000 gallons of oil. The shutdown of the pipeline it uses to transport oil from offshore rigs might interfere with the company’s profits, but it does not constitute an emergency that entitles Exxon to special treatment. The real emergency is that Exxon has irresponsibly continued to pump oil out of the ground without a way to transport it, resulting in a hazardous backlog of oil stored in Las Flores Canyon. In addition to rejecting Exxon Mobile’s permit application, the County should use its influence to pressure Federal regulators to shut down all offshore rigs that feed into the Plains All American Pipeline."

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