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Press Room

Read EDC’s recent and historical press releases, editorials, and reports.

San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors Denies Phillips 66’s Oil Trains Project

The San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors today voted to reject Phillips 66’s proposed oil train offloading terminal. The project was denied with a 3-1 vote, with one supervisor recusing himself in a conflict of interest.

Phillips 66 had appealed the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission decision to reject their controversial oil train project last October, which came after a nearly three-year review process. More than 25,000 Californians have opposed the project in comments and petitions, and more than 45 cities, counties, and school boards have sent letters urging the County to deny the crude-by-rail proposal.

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Federal Court Approves U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Termination of “No-Otter Zone”

In a major victory for threatened southern sea otters, U.S. District Court Judge Dolly M. Gee on Friday issued a ruling denying a challenge by commercial fishing organizations to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decision that has restored protections for sea otters in Southern California.  EDC, The Otter Project and Los Angeles Waterkeeper intervened in the case on behalf of the FWS.

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Lieutenant Governor Newsom Sounds Death Knell for New Offshore Oil Drilling Proposal 

An oil company’s quest to increase oil drilling in California’s state waters was dealt a significant blow at this week’s State Lands Commission meeting. Venoco, which operates the only oil drilling platform in state waters, has proposed to expand its existing leases offshore the city of Goleta, near Santa Barbara. If approved, the South Ellwood project would constitute the first new or expanded lease in state waters since the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. But after listening to public testimony decrying the proposal, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom responded, “That project’s dead.”

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Environmental Groups Join Lawsuit to Defend Denial of Phillips 66 Oil Train Project

Six environmental groups were granted permission today to intervene in a lawsuit brought by Phillips 66, challenging the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission’s denial of the company’s proposal to construct a crude oil train terminal in Nipomo. The Planning Commission denied the project in October, following nearly a year of hearings in which communities throughout the State raised concerns about public safety and environmental harm. Intervention by the groups (Sierra Club, Communities for a Better Environment, Environmental Defense Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Surfrider Foundation, and Stand.earth) will give voice to the more than 20,000 Californians who opposed the project.

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Over 3,700 Pounds of Trash Removed as Result of EDC’s Goleta Creeks Cleanup Program

Over the past summer and fall months, teams of volunteers led by EDC have been venturing down into Goleta’s urban creeks in an effort to remove the vast amount of accumulated trash before winter rains wash it to the ocean and local beaches and were able to remove an astounding 3,717 pounds of trash from ten local creeks.  After over 270 hours of volunteer work, almost two tons of trash – full of plastic bags and water bottles, styrofoam, derelict homeless shelters, shopping carts, batteries, car parts and even hazardous materials – is no longer impacting our watersheds or threatening to pollute our beaches.

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Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Federal Approval of Offshore Fracking and Acidizing

Today with Santa Barbara Channelkeeper we filed a lawsuit challenging the failure of the federal government to analyze and disclose the potential risks and impacts caused by fracking and acidizing from offshore oil platforms in southern California, including the Santa Barbara Channel. The lawsuit alleges that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement violated the federal Endangered Species Act because they failed to consult with the expert wildlife agencies regarding potential impacts from these well stimulation techniques to at least 25 threatened and endangered species, including whales, sea otters, fur seals, sea turtles, marine and coastal birds, fish, and abalone.

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Supervisors Deny 144 New Oil Wells

This week, a majority of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors took a courageous stand for our environment. Pacific Coast Energy Company (PCEC) had pressed hard for approval to drill another 144 new cyclic steam injection oil wells, doubling the size of their operations near Orcutt. Our supervisors who denied this dangerous project deserve our thanks for recognizing that doubling the size of a bad project would only lead to twice the damage and twice the risk.  

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San Luis Obispo Planning Commission Denies Phillips 66’s Oil Trains Project

The San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission today voted to reject Phillips 66’s proposed oil train facility in Nipomo. The decision comes after a nearly three-year review process, with more than 20,000 Californians opposing the project, and more than 45 cities, counties, and school boards sending letters urging the planning commission to deny it.

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Groups Initiate Lawsuit Against Federal Government to Protect Endangered Species From Offshore Fracking and Acidizing

EDC and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper sent a notice of intent to sue the federal government over its decision to approve the practices of fracking and acidizing from 23 offshore oil platforms in southern California, including in the Santa Barbara Channel.  The notice letter alleges that the federal government is in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) because it failed to consult with the expert wildlife agencies regarding potential impacts from these well stimulation techniques to at least 25 threatened and endangered species, including whales, sea otters, fur seals, sea turtles, marine and coastal birds, fish, and abalone.

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EPA Fails to Address Major Source of Water Pollution: Forest Road Runoff

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today decided not to protect our nation’s rivers and streams from polluted water running off of forest roads. A court ordered the agency to consider regulations from this significant pollution source more than 10 years ago. Today’s announcement comes 17 years after co-plaintiffs Environmental Defense Center and Natural Resources Defense Council initially challenged EPA’s 1999 stormwater regulations for failing to address forest road runoff.

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EDC Statement on Today’s Crimson Oil Spill in Ventura

“After visiting the Crimson pipeline oil spill site in Ventura near Prince Barranca Valley/Hall Canyon this morning, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) is closely monitoring the spill and the response efforts, as a fast response is critically important to protect our communities and environment. Although the pipeline spill was a couple miles inland right in town, there was fear the crude could reach the beach at Ventura State Beach between Pierpont and the Promenade. Fortunately, this has been avoided. So far estimates for the size of this spill have been all over the map. It is important to remember that with last year’s Plains All American Oil Spill at Refugio Beach, the initial industry estimates were orders of magnitude below reality.  But we are still very early in understanding the scope of this spill and the challenges that yet another major oil spill will deliver to our region. Regardless of the size, any amount of spilled oil is inexcusable and destructive.

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Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies Project to Receive National Clean Air Excellence Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency next week will honor the partners behind the Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies project — which reduced ship speeds in the Santa Barbara Channel to cut air pollution and protect endangered whale species — with a national Clean Air Excellence Award. The Clean Air Excellence Awards recognize outstanding efforts to achieve cleaner air. The agencies and organizations who collaborated on this project are one of only a select number of honorees this year.

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Environmental Group Condemns Federal Government’s Flawed Analysis Ignoring Risks of Offshore Fracking & Acidizing In California

EDC announced their disappointment with the Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment issued today by federal agencies regarding the risky practices of fracking and acidizing from offshore oil platforms in southern California, including the Santa Barbara Channel.  The Final Assessment, produced by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”), fails to properly analyze and disclose the significant impacts that these practices have on water quality, air quality, and marine wildlife.  EDC fundamentally disagrees with the Assessment’s conclusion that these practices do not have significant impacts, and that further analysis is not warranted. 

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