Environmental review is starting for ExxonMobil’s application to conduct a “phased restart” of its Santa Ynez Unit oil production based at Las Flores Canyon on the Gaviota Coast, and truck to the oil to refineries as a temporary transportation measure.
All of southern Santa Barbara County’s offshore oil platform production has been stalled since the transportation pipeline, owned by Plains All American Pipeline, ruptured and caused the Refugio Oil Spill on May 19, 2015.
ExxonMobil has three platforms – Heritage, Harmony and Hondo – that feed into Las Flores Canyon facility, west of Goleta, and the oil was then shipped north using the Plains pipelines.
According to the application for the “ExxonMobil Interim Trucking for Santa Ynez Unit Phased Restart Project,” the company wants to restart oil production and truck the oil to refinery destinations in Santa Maria and Maricopa for up to seven years, or until a pipeline alternative is available.
In “alternative transportation mode,” Las Flores Canyon would have a permitted capacity of 10,000 to 12,000 barrels per day, and would use up to 70 tanker trucks per 24-hour period, according to the application.
The proposed project would also make modifications to the Las Flores Canyon facilities.
There is a public hearing scheduled at 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the scope of the environmental review for the interim trucking application.
The meeting will be held at the Planning Commission Hearing Room at the county Engineering Building, 123 E. Anapamu St. in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara County Planning and Development staff said the “discussion will be limited to environmental concerns, project environmental document, feasible ways in which project impacts may be minimized (mitigation measures) and potential alternatives to the project.”
Plains has two pipelines that run through Santa Barbara County, Line 901 (which ruptured) and the connecting Line 903. Both have been shut down since the 2015 oil spill.
The pipelines also run through portions of San Luis Obispo and Kern counties, and all the involved governmental agencies will need to coordinate environmental review for the project.