916 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
September 27, 2021
To: Santa Barbara County Planning Commission
Re: 9/29/21 ExxonMobil Interim Trucking for SYU Phased Restart hearing
Citizens Planning Association strongly urges the Commission to deny the findings necessary to approve the revised development plan and Exxon Mobil’s request to transport crude oil via diesel-driven tanker trucks from Las Flores Canyon facility to terminals in Santa Maria [SMPS] and Plains Pentland in Kern County.
We believe the necessary findings cannot be made.
Specifically, the Statement of Overriding Considerations necessary to overcome the Class I Impact of Hazardous Materials Risk of Upset and the associated damages done to sensitive resources, including biological, water and cultural resources, cannot be made.
Several findings recommended by staff discuss the financial benefits of the project. CPA finds fault with such findings. The risk to human life presented by the oil spills and fires associated with the trucking of oil cannot be overcome by the financial components itemized in the SOC. Staff’s proposed Statement of Overriding Considerations includes “Increased property taxes” of approximately $1.2 million annually.
While any amount of general fund is certainly commendable, it is important to put this amount in context. On page C-32 of the County Budget for 2021 the “estimated actual” amount of 2020-21 revenue from taxes was $363,863 million dollars and total operating revenue was $1.3 billion. Thus, the addition of the miniscule fraction (less than .09%) noted in the proposed SOC simply does not outweigh the multiple cited environmental impacts and risk.
It is also concerning that county staff altered their position on the risk posed by tanker truck travel on Highway 166. In August 2020 staff recommended prohibiting tanker trucks on 166 yet they now recommend approval of this dangerous route. Staff’s proposed mitigation measures, restricting truck trips only during AM and PM “peak hours,” is insufficient to address the risk to motorists 24 hours per day on both of those routes.
Finally, ExxonMobil’s plans to restart its offshore platforms and onshore processing facility will also generate unacceptable levels of greenhouse gas emissions and further contribute to climate change, undermining state and national climate targets and goals set by the county’s Energy and Climate Action Plan adopted in May 2015. It is estimated that more than a million megatons of CO2 will be emitted by this project yearly – at a time when the urgency to reduce greenhouse gases has never been more critical.