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Santa Barbara County nixes request to use tanker trucks to move oil from offshore oil platforms

Map of ExxonMobile's proposed oil truck shipping routes.

Controversial proposal called for up to 78 trips a day to move oil from Gaviota coastline to facilities in Santa Maria, and Kern County.

Santa Barbara County Supervisors rejected a controversial proposal to allow crude oil shipments by tanker truck on two major highways in the county.

ExxonMobil sought permission to ship oil from three offshore oil platforms by truck. The big 2015 oil pipeline break on the Gaviota Coast cut off the ability to move it to refinery facilities in Santa Maria, and Kern County.

The proposal called for a maximum of 78 tanker trips a day from the onshore Las Flores oil facility on the Gaviota coastline to Santa Maria, and as a backup Kern County. It called for up to around 24,000 trips a year.

But, it’s generated a storm of controversy over the potential for accidents, and oil spills on Highways 101, and 166.

Nearly 100 people spoke at Tuesday’s marathon public hearing. Boosters talked about the need for the oil, especially given the global oil crisis, as well as the jobs and tax revenue it would mean for the region. But, opponents say the danger of accidents overshadowed any economic benefits.

Without the tanker trucks, there is no way to ship the oil. Platforms Hondo, Harmony, and Heritage remain idle, with permits and actual repairs to the pipeline still years away.

County Supervisors rejected the proposal by a 3-to-2 vote.