Pacific Pipeline Company ("PPC"), a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, has officially announced the withdrawal of its application to construct a new pipeline in the Santa Barbara County region.
The company's decision to abandon the proposed pipeline, which was intended to enable ExxonMobil to resume operations at its offshore oil platforms near Santa Barbara County, marks a noteworthy shift in priorities.
Instead of pursuing the now-abandoned project, with significant implications for the region's oil industry and environmental conservation efforts, PPC has shifted its focus towards restarting the Plains Pipeline 901/903, famous for its history of corrosion and previous rupture in 2015.
The rapture resulted in the Refugio Oil Spill, which had a massive impact on the local coastline, posing significant harm to marine life and the surrounding ecosystem.
According to PPC, the revival of the Plains Pipeline 901/903 is expected to facilitate the restoration of ExxonMobil's three offshore oil platforms from the 1980s, which had been forced to shut down following the massive oil spill.
This would enable ExxonMobil to recommence operations at its Las Flores Canyon processing facility.
The Environmental Defense Center, acting on behalf of Get Oil Out!, SBCAN, and its own members, has been actively opposing these pipeline initiatives.
"At this stage of the climate crisis, building new oil infrastructure is reckless, to say the least. However, restarting a corroded and compromised pipeline that already caused one massive oil spill is even worse,” Maggie Hall, Deputy Chief Counsel at the Environmental Defense Center stated, emphasizing the urgency of the situation in the current climate crisis.
"There is no way for the pipeline owners to credibly claim it will be safe. If this pipeline is allowed to restart, it's not a question of if, but when it will be responsible for another catastrophe."
The 2015 spill, which unleashed over 450,000 gallons of heavy crude oil onto the Gaviota Coast and into the ocean, was attributed to extensive corrosion on Line 901/903.
A federal government report definitively placed the blame on Plains Pipeline Company for their failure to adequately maintain, inspect, and operate the pipeline.
Besides the opposing to the pipeline projects, EDC and its partners had also successfully contested ExxonMobil's plan to transport millions of gallons of oil weekly from its platforms via truck through Santa Barbara County.
Last month, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California upheld Santa Barbara County's denial of ExxonMobil's trucking plan, marking a significant victory for environmental conservation in the region.