An environmental analysis has been released of a proposal to restart drilling at offshore platforms and truck the oil to Santa Maria and Kern County, setting the stage for hearings and a possible vote in September.
The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report released this week assesses the ExxonMobil application for 70 trucks to travel seven days per week, 24 hours per day from the Las Flores Canyon facility at Gaviota to sites in Santa Maria or Maricopa in Kern County.
Trucking would be a temporary transportation tool until approval and installation of a replacement pipeline to carry crude oil.
ExxonMobil has proposed a phased restart of its Santa Ynez Unit — Platforms Hondo, Harmony and Heritage offshore plus an onshore processing facility — using trucks for up to seven years or until a pipeline alternative is in place, whichever is shorter.
The environmental report looked at various alternatives, including taking oil to Santa Maria only, or doing fewer truck trips. Other options reviewed and rejected included sending trucks along HIghway 46 in northern San Luis Obispo County or on Highway 126 or 33 in Ventura County.
Under the proposal, trucks would travel north from Las Flores Canyon 12 miles west of Goleta along Highway 101 to reach the Santa Maria Pumping Station on East Battles Road or to take Highway 166 east to the Pentland Terminal in Maricopa.
While not trucking oil has been deemed the environmentally superior alternative, the analysis determined that the next preferred option involved not transporting oil by truck on rainy days.