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The Region

November 26, 1986

Responsibility for offshore air quality should be transferred from the U.S. Interior Department to the federal Environmental Protection Agency to eliminate the sort of conflicting standards that has caused a dispute between Exxon and Santa Barbara County, Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif.) told a Santa Barbara hearing. Disagreement with the county over its call for tougher pollution standards prompted Exxon to abandon plans to build a $2.5-billion processing plant ashore and seek to double the 40,000-barrel-a-day capacity of its offshore floating oil storage and treatment plant. Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige called the hearing to consider Exxon's request that he override the California Coastal Commission's opposition to the expansion because of air quality concerns. Wilson supported the county's position that the plant should be ashore and said he plans to introduce legislation to bring about agreement on federal air quality jurisdiction. Baldrige is expected to rule in January.

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