Exxon’s asking Santa Barbara County to allow it to reopen a 123-mile-long pipeline that caused the 142,000-gallon Refugio spill in 2015. The pipe is more than 30 years old, is eight years older now than when it caused that great destruction, and has not been fully inspected and repaired in all this time.
Rather than spend the money to repair the old pipe, Exxon proposes to install valves that would supposedly limit future spills to manageable levels.
That massive spill has done more than enough damage in our county. There are still countless clumps of tar below the sand’s surface. Will my wife and I ever again be able to walk on Refugio Beach without getting it on our feet?
The long list of Exxon’s calamitous accidents will continue to grow, wherever it operates and regardless of its assurances and claims of engineering advances and safe operating practices.
For decades, Exxon has found ways to avoid responsibility for full cleanup and restoration. And recovery is never complete.
The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission should consider the values of the Gaviota Coast Plan and Exxon’s historic record. Otherwise, the next ruinous Santa Barbara spill is surely only a matter of time.