Four years after the Plains All-American Pipeline spill hit Refugio Beach, ExxonMobil has applied to restart its offshore platforms and truck oil via the same route.
They argue that trucking oil from Gaviota to refineries in Santa Maria and Bakersfield is perfectly safe. Last week, two separate tankers overturned in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, killing one driver, sending the other to the hospital, and causing road closures for hours. We were fortunate that neither truck was carrying oil, but imagine if they had been.
Exxon’s proposal of 70 truckloads of oil per day will be multiplied many times over by other onshore and offshore projects, resulting in increased traffic, accidents, spills and air pollution.
In addition to Exxon’s trucking proposal, three companies are in the approval process to drill 750 oil wells in North County; the Department of the Interior has announced its intent to begin fracking in Los Padres National Forest; and the EPA has proposed to exempt 30 square miles of aquifer in Cat Canyon, near Orcutt, from the Safe Water Drinking Act, thereby allowing disposal of fluids from oil and gas production into our drinking water.
Our county’s health and future are under attack by moneyed interests in collusion with politicians who choose profit over protecting us, our drinking water, and our children’s future.
The city of Los Angeles and the state of New York are working with labor unions to retrain oil workers in alternative energy jobs, which are plentiful, lucrative, and safer than jobs in oil. Let’s join them.