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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on February 7th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 49 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 49

County supervisors approve Foxen Pipeline project

By JOE PAYNE

Sisquoc residents can look forward to a future where oil tanker trucks traveling their two-lane roads are fewer and farther between. On Feb. 6, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved construction of the Foxen Petroleum Pipeline.

The ordinance allows ERG Operating Company to connect its Cat Canyon facility to a Phillips 66 processing station with more than 2 miles of pipeline along and under a rural roadway. The board discussed the ordinance at its Jan. 30 meeting, six years after the plan was initially submitted to the county, and three years after the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission approved the project in 2015.

ERG's Cat Canyon operation currently depends on at least 22 oil tanker trucks per day to move the oil—around 7,000 truckloads per year—according to a presentation by ERG Environmental Health and Safety Manager Ben Oakley during the Jan. 30 meeting. The Foxen Petroleum Pipeline will change that, Oakley explained.

"This is a process we call 'revitalization,' and it's now a state-of-the-art facility with the best technology and equipment available," Oakley said. "Consistent with our efforts to constantly improve our operations, we would like to replace the tanker truck oil transportation system that we inherited from our predecessors with a modern pipeline transportation system."

South County Supervisors Das Williams, Janet Wolf, and Joan Hartmann questioned the company's representatives about the pipeline's safety at the January meeting, and North County Supervisors Peter Adam and Steve Lavagnino lauded the project.

Lavagnino, whose district includes Cat Canyon, thanked ERG for the project and its place in the public process.

"Folks in Gary and Siquoc have always been concerned about the amount of truck traffic that is moving through that very small community on a very small road," he said. "I'm pleased we're making a change, and I just wanted to say thank you for going the extra mile on that side of things."

But environmental watchdogs like Alena Simon of Food and Water Watch Santa Barbara see the pipeline as a move that will allow a massive increase of the amount of oil moving from ERG's facility.

"It was disappointing to see the supervisors vote in favor of ERG's Foxen Cat Canyon Pipeline," Simon said. "The purpose of the pipeline is clearly to produce more oil in Santa Barbara County, and it can be used beyond this limited project to support 768 proposed new wells. Instead of building more oil and gas infrastructure, the county should move off of fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy."




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