The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors today will consider ordering an environmental impact report for a new Plains All American pipeline to replace the one that ruptured in 2015, causing the Refugio oil spill.
The supervisors will consider the action at their 9 a.m. meeting at the Joseph Centeno Betteravia Administration Building in Santa Maria.
The Plains Replacement Pipeline Project is a proposal for a new pipeline system to replace Plains All American Pipeline’s Line 901 and 903 system, which has been shut down since the Refugio Oil Spill dumped around 100,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean near Refugio State Beach in 2015.
The new pipeline would run approximately 123.4 miles through Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County, Kern County and Bureau of Land Management jurisdictions. The existing pipeline will be abandoned in-place and the new lines will be installed within the existing pipeline right-of-way, with three exceptions.
“These deviations consist of a reroute to circumvent the city of Buellton and two smaller deviations to bypass sensitive resources along the Gaviota Coast,” the report reads.
The project would include the construction and installation of supporting access roads, valve site upgrades and facilities upgrades to existing pump stations, including a new 120,000-barrel crude oil break-out tank at the Sisquoc Pump Station, and the construction of one new pump station in San Luis Obispo County.
The Santa Barbara County Planning and Development Department considered Plains’ project permit application complete in April 2018. In November, the planning department issued a request for proposals from contractors to prepare reports on the environmental impacts of the project.
Because the project runs through local, state and federal lands, an environmental impact report will be prepared to meet state requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act and a separate environmental impact statement will be prepared according to federal rules in the National Environmental Policy Act.
Four consulting firms applied to conduct the reports and the county and Bureau of Land Management determined Santa Barbara firm MRS Environmental Inc. was the best choice.
The environmental impact report and statement will include “Peer review of technical reports, independent field survey of the project site, independent and objective evaluation of potential project-specific and cumulative impacts, project alternatives and identification of mitigation measures to reduce environmental impacts to the extent feasible,” according to the planning department report.
The planning department would oversee the consultant’s preparation of the environmental impact report.