For Immediate Release, May 14, 2020


Stephanie Prufer, (919) 536-9994,

‘Oil 101’ Webinar to Discuss Industry Impacts on Santa Barbara County

Session Marks Fifth Anniversary of Plains Pipeline Oil Spill, ExxonMobil’s Push to Restart Offshore Drilling Platforms

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— Environmental groups will hold an online education session called “Oil 101: Moving Beyond Platforms, Pipelines and Pollution in Santa Barbara” on Monday, May 18. The webinar, open to the public and media, will discuss the legacy of the Plains Pipeline oil spill that blackened Santa Barbara area beaches five years ago. It will also include a discussion of ExxonMobil’s pending proposal to restart its offshore platforms and truck that oil on California highways, Cat Canyon and other local onshore drilling projects, and the need to address climate change.

Plains All American Pipeline’s severely corroded coastal oil pipeline failed near Refugio State Beach on May 19, 2015, spilling more than 120,000 gallons of oil and killing hundreds of birds and marine mammals. Seven offshore drilling platforms served by the pipeline were idled. This summer Santa Barbara County officials will consider approving ExxonMobil’s proposal to restart its three platforms and ship that oil using up to 70 tanker trucks per day on Highways 1, 101 and 166.

A majority of Santa Barbara County voters oppose ExxonMobil’s plans to restart its offshore platform there, according to poll in November. Nearly 3 out of 4 respondents said they were concerned about the safety of local highways if the oil-trucking plan is approved.

“We want people to understand how the oil industry has harmed Santa Barbara County and our planet. That means remembering the Plains Pipeline oil spill and learning about how ExxonMobil’s current proposal threatens our coastline, communities and highways,” said Stephanie Prufer, an oceans organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Santa Barbara County is approaching a crossroads this summer. We can revive dirty and dangerous drilling and keep cooking the planet, or we can choose a clean energy future that protects our beautiful region.”

What:“Oil 101: Moving Beyond Platforms, Pipelines and Pollution in Santa Barbara,” an online webinar by activists and experts on the oil industry’s impact on the region and planet

When:Monday, May 18, Noon to 1 p.m. in English, 6-7 p.m. in Spanish

Where:Online. To watch the replay in English, click here. Or for the Spanish version (En Espanol) click here.

Who: The webinar is hosted by the Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Defense Center, Sierra Club, 350 Santa Barbara, Food & Water Action, Wishtoyo Foundation and Los Padres ForestWatch.

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Slide from Oil 101 webinar. Photo by Drew Bird ( Image available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.