SBYD Speaks Out Against Exxon

SBYD Public Comment to Santa Barbara City Council on Exxon’s Plan for Crude-Oil Trucking

Ian Baucke – SBYD Advocacy & Policy
8/7/2020

Hello, Mayor Murillo and members of the city council. My name is Ian Baucke and I have the honor of speaking to you today on behalf of Santa Barbara Young Democrats, as our new Director of Advocacy and Policy, in opposition to Exxon’s greedy and dangerous attempt to expand its local crude oil operations. We strongly urge you to denounce Exxon’s attempt to put our communities and ecosystems at even greater risk by trucking nearly half a million gallons of, offshore drilled, crude oil on our public roadways every day. 

As you all know, the reason why Exxon seeks to further congest our public roads is because of the industry’s failure to safely operate their Gaviota pipeline that spilled over 143k gallons into our environment in 2015. While there is no safe way to transport crude oil, and in an ideal world it would stay in the ground, literally the least safe way to transport it is by truck. The county EIR for the proposal states that trucking this oil is even more likely to cause a spill than a pipeline. However, I’d encourage the council to not be misled by the EIR which erroneously underestimates the probability of a spill between Los Flores Canyon and the Santa Maria refinery, including Exxon’s supposed safety measures, as just one spill every 52 years. 

I’m not sure how they got there but that just isn’t commensurate with reality. CHP reports that along Exxon’s proposed route there were 216 trucking accidents in the past 5 years alone. And just a few months ago an oil truck crashed on route 166, spilling more than 4500 gallons into the Cuyama River upstream of the Twitchell Reservoir, in an area without cell service, further inhibiting the cleanup effort. Exxon’s operations in Gaviota have also long been the largest producer of carcinogenic greenhouse gas emissions in the county.

Even if everything goes according to Exxon’s plan, which it won’t, who sees most of the benefits? A $350 billion company profiting off the exploitation of our natural resources. But when, not if, there is another spill, who pays the real cost? It will be your constituents who have to share public roadways with these dangerous trucks, it will be the many endangered species in delicate habitats along this route, and it will be our coastline supporting over 16,000 jobs in this county that’s put at risk.

I look forward to working together with all of you in this new role to help engage our young people with local government to address the many challenges facing our city. But I want to be frank, in the year 2020, in Santa Barbara, there is no excuse for voting to expand corporate crude oil operations after all the damage it’s already wrought on our community.

Santa Barbara Young Democrats strongly urge you to unanimously adopt this resolution and to pressure the county to reject Exxon’s reckless endangerment of our environment, public health, and the Central Coast’s reputation as a community of sustainably and innovation. Please do not allow our local government to become a rubber stamp for corporate profiteering. Thank you for listening and please vote yes on this resolution.