SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
A large group of environmentalists spoke out loudly and chanted against plans by ExxonMobil to increase trucking as part of a plan to restart three offshore platforms and an on shore facility.
ExxonMobil says the project will increase jobs and taxes in the county and the transportation plan will have safety as a priority.
Santa Barbara County planners are reviewing the proposal. It calls for 70 truckloads of oil a day. The destinations would be facilities in Santa Maria and in Maricopa (Kern County.)
The oil giant has not been able to move the crude to the marketplace since the Plains All-American pipeline disaster in May of 2015. That catastrophe sent oil into onshore ranch land and offshore waters leading to the deaths of marine mammals and shore birds.
It's unknown when or if that pipeline will ever be used again but the company is working on a proposal that will also have to be reviewed by the county and environmental groups.
Blake Kopcho with the Center for Biological Diversity and Linda Krop with the Environmental Defense Center were among the speakers talking about trucking risks. They said the roadways being suggested in the plan were already impacted and dangerous.
Among those to attend the hearing were representatives of the oil industry and truckers who said they have highly skilled and trained employees.
About 120 people filled the meeting room last night to discus the project. Ultimately a decision will be made by the Board of Supervisors