John Peschong makes a powerful case (“Oil pipeline reopening should be expedited,” Nov. 15). Crude oil pipeline repairs need to be expedited, or safe, temporary alternatives found.
After the Refugio pipeline rupture in May, federal regulators ordered retesting of pipelines serving seven offshore oil platforms west of Goleta. Inspections showed extensive corrosion and poor management practices by Plains All American Pipeline, owner of the Santa Barbara County pipeline.
This preventable crisis shut down offshore production, displaced many oilfield jobs, created a countywide budget dilemma and cut feedstock to Phillips 66’s Santa Maria Refinery in half.
Expediting repairs is foremost, but alternatives might include rerouting offshore production to in-service pipelines and expanding nearby onshore sources.
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Peschong doesn’t address Santa Maria Refinery’s rail project. Given its widespread controversy, plus multiple administrative and legal appeal options for both proponents and opponents, even if eventually approved, the project would likely take years before it’s operational.
Abundant crude oil is produced here, so switching to imported crude-by-rail can idle local oilfields and re-create the kind of economic hardships we’re facing now. Still, some rail project supporters use the pipeline outage as a convenient pretext to promote importing oil.
The rail project arrives too late if it arrives at all. It’s a dangerous distraction from getting local oil flowing again.
Tom Ryan, Technology Committee, Mesa Refinery Watch