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Planning Commission rejects controversial plan to move oil from offshore platforms by tanker truck in Santa Barbara County

ExxonMobil Map
Map of ExxonMobile's proposed oil trick shipping routes.

But, final decision on ExxonMobil proposal lies in hands of Santa Barbara County Supervisors

As expected, a controversial proposal to move oil by tanker trucks in Santa Barbara County hit a major roadblock. The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission formally voted 3-to-2 against ExxonMobil’s request to use tanker trucks on Highway 101 and 166.

The Plains All-American Pipeline rupture on the Gaviota coast in 2015 forced the shutdown of three of the company’s offshore oil platforms. Without the pipeline, there is no way to move crude oil. ExxonMobil wants to use tanker trucks to ship oil to the Santa Maria area and Kern County.

It’s created a firestorm of controversy. There’s concern about the potential for accidents and spills, as well as air pollution caused by the truck trips.

ExxonMobil officials contend there are ample safety measures in place.

Following a marathon hearing, the Commission voted in September to reject the oil company’s proposal. Wednesday, the commission formally approved the wording of the decision. The issue now goes to Santa Barbara County Supervisors, who will make the final decision.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.