Gaviota Coast Conservancy is proud to announce that the University of California, Santa Barbara Natural Reserve System is turning 50! To celebrate 50 years of research and preservation, the @UCSB Natural Reserve System is hosting 6 events from Oct 1-Nov 7. As proud sponsors, we are happy to support the LARGEST university-administered reserve system in the world. Join us at one (or all!) of the events this celebration has to offer. Head to nrs.ucsb.edu/events to register and RSVP asap, as there's limited space. See you there!
EMERGENCY OIL TRUCKING PERMIT DENIED!
(Santa Barbara, CA) On Tuesday, June 9, Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Department Assistant Director Dianne Black denied a requested emergency permit to transport crude oil by truck from the Gaviota Coast to Santa Maria. The request was made based on the need to shut in offshore oil platforms due to the closure of the Plains All American Pipeline following the Refugio Oil Spill.
“All oil development carries significant environmental risks, and the Gaviota Coast has seen the consequences of shoddy pipeline transportation practices. After that experience, Exxon’s proposal to transport crude oil from the Gaviota Coast by truck was irresponsible,” stated Gaviota Coast Conservancy’s President, Phil McKenna.
“Exxon failed to make even a credible case that there was an emergency that justified skirting state and local environmental laws,” stated Gaviota Coast Conservancy attorney Marc Chytilo. “Oil development demands the highest levels of environmental scrutiny, not back door emergency exemptions.”
Gaviota Coast Conservancy thanks Assistant Director Black and County staff for their hard work in carefully reviewing this important issue.
Dianne Black will make the decision by Wednesday, as Planning and Development Director Glenn Russell has recused himself due to conflict of interest.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
For Gaviota Coast Conservancy and Naples Coalition