ExxonMobil sues Santa Barbara County over oil transportation denial

May 18, 2022


ExxonMobil is suing the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors after it denied a request to restart offshore oil wells shut down in 2015 following an oil pipeline spill.

Specifically, ExxonMobil asked the county board to approve interim trucking routes for the transportation of oil from its offshore drilling platforms. The plan was for up to 24,820 tanker trucks a year to transport the oil on Highway 101 and State Route 166 for up to seven years or until the damaged pipeline is replaced or repaired.

On May 19, 2015, a pipe belonging to Plains All American ruptured near Goleta, causing approxamtly 140,000 gallons of crude oil to spill. Much of the oil flowed into a culvert and then into a ditch that drains into the ocean.

In a 3-2 vote in March, the board denied ExxonMobil’s request.

ExxonMobil contends the denial was an unlawful abuse of discretion.

“Rather than focus on the merits of the project…the board improperly treated the consideration of the project as a referendum on offshore production as well as the transportation and use of crude oil in the County of Santa Barbara,” according to the lawsuit. “But that was not the issue before it. The only question before the board was whether the project complies with federal, state, and local law. It does.”

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Way to go SBC! You have managed to provoke a sleeping giant, and it bit you. Exxon Mobile (XOM) has a capitalization of something north of $200 BILLION while SBC has an annual budget of something less than $400 MILLION. SBC has something well less than 2% of the resources available to XOM. This means that XOM is something well in excess of 50 times the size of SBC. This time you are not oppressing some peon without the resources to purchase justice.

You might want to consider doing what you should have done in the first place. Negotiate an agreement with XOM instead of sitting on your metaphoric throne issuing absolute directives with perceived impunity.

Ive always had a vert hard time accepting the idea of offshore drilling. Just should never be an option. Irreparable damage in the ocean when (not if, When) a spill happens.

Irreparable damage is a myth. Can you identify the irreparable damage that continues to this day from the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill? In the short term, spills can have profound and devastating impacts. Long term, the ocean heals itself especially when combined with remediation/restoration efforts. Spills can be minor involving just several gallons or major involving millions of barrels. Cost/benefit and risk/reward are factors to be considered in any sort of resource extraction & utilization. Your awesome quality of life and the lifting of 1+ billion humans out of poverty in the past 75 years is directly tied to the availability of plentiful energy and the cornucopia of products derived from petroleum and fossil fuels. Oh yeah,….and Capitalism/Free Markets.

In the country of Jordan… today’s gas price is $1.86 and Diesel is $1.27 in U.S. Dollars

Beg to differ. In U.S. dollars, the price is $5.98 per gallon—higher than us. You’re looking at liters. I’ll take stupid comparisons for $100, Alex.

Good. With less pressure on the underground reserves, less seepage will occur to soil the beaches, which, every year, far exceeds the amount of the spill. Win, win for everyone.

I agree, the loses for Exxon will surly run into the millions and I hope Santa Barbara County loses and has to pay every penny.

This summer would be a good time to have a fuel of any type boycott, as in no product available, for just two months.

Oops, I forgot this has already been done with baby food and we have President Biden already working on that first. What a country.

When will these boards and committees learn that the laws and regulations go both ways? Now they’ll likely scramble to change the laws and regulations spending more and more taxpayers dollars in the process.

The people of the United States deserve leaders that care about our pocketbook’s….

$6 per gal gas is not acceptable…..

While I am in agreement with you on the stunning price of gas at the pump, I consider that a very separate issue. After all, oil companies are raking in impressive record profits right now. What should be done, IMHO, is to restore the WINDFALL PROFITS TAXES that once protected consumers from this kind of thievery.

That is the protection we need to be pressuring our “For The People” government to be restoring.

I don’t understand the down votes. what exactly are you saying you don’t agree with? Point out where FB is incorrect. Are profits not at record highs? Would the tax not offer protection? Do you really think the gubmint is really looking out for us?

Oil prices have been much higher in the past. Gas was never this expensive. Why now?