Environmental activists protest against Exxon’s trucking proposal
A crowd of more than a hundred environmental activists gathered on Friday to oppose ExxonMobil’s proposal to truck oil along the central coast.
Activists from the Society of Fearless Grandmothers, Santa Barbara County Action Network, 350 Santa Barbara, UCSB Environmental Affairs Board, Sunrise Movement Santa Barbara and other environmental justice groups marched from the county administration building to Place De la Guerra as part of a peaceful movement. demonstration Friday. The group has rallied to urge the county planning commission to reject an oil trucking proposal from ExxonMobil, which the commission will consider in a public hearing on Wednesday.
ExxonMobil’s proposal aims to truck up to 70 tankers per day from its Las Flores Canyon facility to its Santa Maria pumping station via Highway 101 and to the Pentland terminal in Kern County via the national highway 166. The company also proposed a gradual restart of three offshore drilling platforms in the Santa Barbara Canal, which were closed after the Refugio oil spill in 2015.
Current county policy only allows the company to transport oil by pipeline. In order to begin trucking, ExxonMobil must receive county approval to begin trucking until another pipeline can be built or the Plains pipeline can be restored.
Campaigners who gathered on Friday said approval of the trucking project would accelerate the climate crisis and threaten the county’s ecosystems if a spill were to occur. Some of their concerns were substantiated by an environmental study carried out by the county’s planning and development department last month, which found that an accidental oil spill as a result of trucking would have an “inevitable” impact if the project is approved.
“Exxon’s trucking plan is reckless, it is bold and it knowingly puts lives at risk for profit,” Alyssa Nazari Jain, Sunrise Movement Santa Barbara political team leader, told the crowd on Friday. “And it is a duty of the Planning Commission to reject this project.”
She told the crowd that Exxon’s tankers are “accidents waiting to happen”, noting that a spill would pollute the ancestral lands of the Chumash, the habitats of several endangered species and “threaten the safety of all of us.”
“We all have the right to clean air and water and a liveable future,” she continued. “If the Planning and Development Department does not protect this right, if ExxonMobile does not respect this right, then it is up to us to fight for it.
On Friday, the activist group marched down State Street, reciting chants like “Exxon be gone” and “Keep that oil in the ground.” They caught the eye of retail shoppers and restaurant patrons as they made their way to De la Guerra Plaza.
Among the activist group was UCSB recruit Isabella Ponce. She was one of dozens of students who took part in Friday’s rally and march to protect the future of the environment.
“I hope we have succeeded in telling the people of Santa Barbara and those who are sitting outside to eat that young people care about our future and that we do not want to live in a world polluted by everyone. time.” Ms Ponce told News-Press. “And we hope that we have a world to leave for our grandchildren and their children, and just create a better future for everyone.”
During Friday’s rally, several activists recalled the report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released last month that estimated the world would reach 1.5 degrees Celsius warming in the next two years. decades. Scientists called the report a “code red for humanity” and said urgent change was needed to limit the warming.
Irene Cooke, coordinator and co-founder of the Fearless Grandmother’s Society, told News-Press on Friday that she hoped Friday’s march would help people understand the “urgency” of the climate situation.
“It’s very easy for people to get depressed and anxious if they hear all the horrible news and see the orange sun in the sky today,” Ms. Cooke said, noting that the hazy sky above was causing smoke. Northern California wildfires. “But the antidote to depression and anxiety is action. And that’s what we’re doing here.
“We do not have 50 years to solve this problem,” she added. “We have about less than eight years to make sweeping policy changes globally, or the (younger) generation will suffer the consequences for years to come.”
To view the Planning Board’s agenda for ExxonMobil’s trucking plan, visit countyofsb.org/plndev/hearings/cpc.sbc. The meeting kicks off virtually at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday and can be streamed live on Youtube at youtube.com/user/CSBTV20.
To make a public comment ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, submit a comment by noon Monday to [email protected], or comment live by pre-registering for the meeting on Zoom. The registration link can be found in the agenda of the Planning Commission.
email: [email protected]