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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 11:43 am | Fair 55º

 
 
 
 

County Supervisors Approve First Reading of Oil Pipeline Agreement for Venoco

Next week's public meeting the last step before the company can begin operations

If approved by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors at next week’s public hearing, Venoco Inc. will immediately gain permission to operate an 8.5-mile pipeline to transport crude oil from the Ellwood Onshore Facility to a pipeline system in Gaviota.

Supervisors approved the first reading of the franchise agreement at Tuesday’s meeting, and a full public hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday, Feb. 14.

The 6-inch pipeline would eliminate the last oil barging operation off the county’s coastline and have oil bypass the Ellwood Marine Terminal, which would then be decommissioned and cleaned. Venoco currently uses the barges to transport oil from there to Los Angeles or as far north as San Francisco refineries.

Venoco would pay the county right-of-way franchise fees for a 20-year agreement, and at the end of it the county can seize the pipes, leave them or make Venoco remove them, according to county General Services Director Bob Nisbet.

He said the county Planning Commission approved the pipeline construction and certified the environmental impact report last summer.

The EIR called the pipeline environmentally superior, and county officials say it could reduce air emissions.

Environmental groups have been working to get rid of the barging operations for 14 years, and the pipeline would eliminate the risk of offshore oil spills, Environmental Defense Center counsel Linda Krop said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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