A Santa Barbara County Planning Commission public hearing regarding a proposal to truck oil to facilities in San Luis Obispo or Kern counties has been delayed. 

As expected, the hearing planned for Wednesday and Sept. 9 will not occur at the request of ExxonMobil, Santa Barbara County planning staff has announced.

The delay came after Phillips 66 announced on Aug. 13 plans to convert a refinery in Contra Costa County into renewable fuels and to shut down the Santa Maria Refinery in rural Arroyo Grande by 2023.

The Phillips announcement also involves idling associated pipelines and support facilities, including the Santa Maria Pumping Station. 

“ExxonMobil is currently evaluating how Phillips 66’s proposal may affect ExxonMobil’s pending application,” Deputy Director John Zorovich of the Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Department said. “Staff will continue discussions with ExxonMobil regarding any revisions to their proposed project and to identify future available Planning Commission hearings.”

ExxonMobil has proposed restarting offshore oil platforms and trucking crude on an interim basis from the Gaviota facility to refineries in San Luis Obispo County or Kern County. 

After reviewing the issue, Santa Barbara County planning staff recommended transporting the product only to the Santa Maria Refinery to avoid potential environmental impacts of trucking oil along Highway 166. 

The Phillips 66 announcement put a kink in the recommendation and plans. 

In an Aug. 21 report, county staff said ExxonMobil had accepted the revised project description to truck only to the Santa Maria Pumping station “unless there was an extended (yet temporary) shutdown of the facility.”

Zorovich said the county did not have a new date for the rescheduled hearing.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com.