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Press Room

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

Partners Launch 2019 Program to Protect Blue Whales and Blue Skies

The partners in an initiative to reduce air pollution and protect endangered whales announced the launch of the 2019 incentive program, which will run through November 15, 2019, with voluntary vessel speed reduction (VSR) zones in the Santa Barbara Channel and San Francisco Bay regions. Similar to the 2018 program, companies participating in the 2019 program are asked to voluntarily slow down their entire fleet to 10 knots or less, with an average speed that does not exceed 12 knots. Partners chose the target of 10 knots to achieve maximum emission reduction benefits, and for consistency with other programs. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sanctuaries request that vessels 300 gross tons or larger slow to 10 knots or less during peak whale feeding season to protect whales from lethal ship strikes.

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Linda Krop’s Testimony at the Plains All American Sentencing Hearing

Today, the Environmental Defense Center’s Chief Counsel, Linda Krop, testified as a witness at the sentencing hearing in the Plains All American Pipeline criminal trial in Santa Barbara Superior Court. The Environmental Defense Center was the only environmental group that testified. Below is the testimony that Ms. Krop delivered in Judge James Herman’s courtroom.

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Judge denies oil company’s request to continue fracking offshore California despite moratorium

A federal judge issued an order last night declaring that the oil company DCOR, LLC cannot proceed with its two proposed permits to conduct fracking in the Santa Barbara Channel at Platform Gilda.  In November 2018, the judge ruled in favor of the Environmental Defense Center and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, prohibiting the Trump Administration from approving the use of well stimulation treatments, including fracking and acidizing, offshore California until required environmental protection processes conclude.  Despite that important order, DCOR sought a special exception from the Court to proceed with fracking, alleging that the Court’s order caused it financial harm.  However, the Court denied that request, ruling that the harm to threatened and endangered species from offshore fracking outweighs any monetary harm to the oil company, and upheld its moratorium on these practices.

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Abe Powell to Receive Environmental Hero Award at EDC’s Green & Blue Event

On Sunday, June 2nd, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) will honor John Abraham “Abe” Powell as part of the organization’s annual event: Green & Blue: A Coastal Celebration. Abe will be presented with EDC’s Environmental Hero Award which has previously been bestowed on other local and national leaders including Jane Fonda, Yvon Chouinard, Jack Johnson, Jean Michel Cousteau, and Jackson Brown, among others.

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Judge Approves Legal Agreement to Extend Ban on Unmanaged Target Shooting in Los Padres National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service and a Santa Barbara-based conservation group have formally agreed to take a series of steps aimed at reducing the impacts of target shooting throughout the Los Padres National Forest in central California. The agreement – approved in U.S. District Court yesterday – resolves a 2018 lawsuit challenging the agency’s failure to address the proliferation of litter, soil and water contamination, wildfires, vandalism, harm to endangered wildlife, and other environmental and public safety hazards caused by decades of unmanaged target shooting across nearly two million acres of national forest land.

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Twelve Global Shipping Companies Slowed Transits in 2018 Program Off CA Coast to Protect Blue Whales and Blue Skies

The partners in an initiative to cut air pollution and protect endangered whales announced results from the 2018 program and recognized the 12 shipping companies that participated, reducing speeds to 10 knots or less in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Santa Barbara Channel region. The voluntary incentive program ran July 1 – November 15, 2018. Partners recognized the companies at a ceremony at the Bannings Landing Community Center near the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach.

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Goleta Opposes Proposal to Truck Offshore Oil on California Highways

The Goleta City Council today voted to oppose ExxonMobil’s proposal to restart its dormant offshore drilling platforms and truck that oil up California’s coastal highway and across Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Kern Counties. ExxonMobil’s three offshore drilling platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel have been idle since a coastal oil pipeline that served them failed in 2015, causing a massive oil spill that blackened Santa Barbara area beaches and killed hundreds of birds and marine animals.

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Vijaya Jammalamadaka and David Andreasen Join Board of Environmental Defense Center

EDC is proud to announce that both Vijaya Jammalamadaka and David Andreasen have joined the organization’s board of directors. Ms. Jammalamadaka is a retired environmental specialist with decades of experience in environmental policy and supporting local nonprofits. Mr. Andreasen is a lifetime resident of Santa Barbara and an attorney in private practice, specializing in criminal appeals. Both bring considerable experience from the public and nonprofit sectors and a deep commitment to protecting our local environment.

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NRG Withdraws Application for Puente Power Plant

NRG formally withdrew its application to build another dirty power plant on the beaches of Oxnard. This polluting and unnecessary plant would have caused irreversible harm to coastal wetlands, habitats, and wildlife. Our work for more than 3 years was critical to the California Energy Commission recommending denial of the project earlier this year. This is a great win for our community as we shift toward cleaner, renewable sources of energy.

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Federal Judge Halts Offshore Fracking Pending Further Review

A federal judge issued an order today declaring that the federal government violated environmental protection laws when it approved permits for fracking and acidizing (otherwise referred to as “well stimulation treatments,” or “WSTs”) from platforms offshore California. The judge agreed with EDC and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper that the government failed to conduct adequate consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding potential impacts to threatened and endangered species. The judge also held that the federal government must provide the California Coastal Commission with an opportunity to review fracking and acidizing before allowing such practices. Accordingly, the court issued an injunction prohibiting the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement from approving any plans or permits for the use of well stimulation treatments offshore California.

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U.S. Supreme Court Declines Sea Otter Case – Cementing the Termination of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “No-Otter Zone”

In a major victory for threatened southern sea otters, the U.S. Supreme Court today denied a petition for certiorari to consider the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision restoring protections for sea otters in Southern California.  The Ninth Circuit decision is now the last word on this case, putting an end to years of litigation.  Otters will be welcome to populate their entire historic range along the California coast, while receiving protections under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act. 

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Rocio Lozano-Knowlton and Leanne Schlinger Join Board of Environmental Defense Center

The Environmental Defense Center is proud to announce that both Rocio Lozano-Knowlton and Leanne Schlinger have joined the organization’s board of directors. Ms. Lozano-Knowlton is the Executive Director of the Ventura-based MERITO Foundation which focuses on marine and science education for multicultural youth and Ms. Schlinger is the president of Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals, working with ranches, estates, and homes in the Valley. Both have a long history of using their considerable skills and expertise to benefit our local environment and together they make a powerful addition to EDC’s leadership.

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California Legislative Bills Shut Out Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plans

As the federal government prepares to release a revised offshore drilling plan that could open up Pacific waters to oil and gas drilling for the first time in 30 years, California legislators today sent the Trump administration a clear and loud message: Not on our watch, and not through our shores. Earlier this week, the California Assembly passed Senate Bill 834 (Jackson), legislation that prohibits the leasing of state waters for new construction of oil and gas-related infrastructure. In doing so, the state is effectively banning the development of pipelines, platforms, and other infrastructure needed to bring offshore oil and gas to shore to be processed. A mirror bill, Assembly Bill 1775 (Muratsuchi) passed out of the Senate on Tuesday. Both legislations have now passed concurrence votes and are headed to the governor’s desk and are widely expected to be signed into law by Gov. Brown.

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65 California Cities, Counties Oppose Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan

At least 65 California cities and counties have taken action opposing new fossil fuel leasing in the Pacific Ocean since President Trump proposed a massive expansion of drilling in federal waters last year. That ongoing campaign now represents communities with 21.3 million Californians — more than half the state’s population. These actions, combined with recent public opinion polling showing that 69 percent of Californians oppose new offshore drilling, come as the California Legislature considers Assembly Bill 1775 and Senate Bill 834, which would prohibit new infrastructure to serve expanded federal offshore oil leasing.

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Clean Water Act Enforcement Lawsuit Filed Against Pacific Coast Energy Company’s Orcutt Hill Oil Operation

The Environmental Defense Center filed a lawsuit in federal court against Pacific Coast Energy Company LP (“PCEC”) (formerly BreitBurn Energy Company LP), alleging violations of the Clean Water Act.  PCEC conducts oil exploration and development activities using enhanced oil extraction techniques such as cyclic steam injection at its 5,400 acre Orcutt Hill oil field operation.  Polluted runoff from this facility, which is located in northern Santa Barbara County, flows into Orcutt Creek and San Antonio Creek, which drain into the Santa Maria River and the Pacific Ocean, respectively.  These waters provide important habitat for threatened and endangered species, such as the Unarmored Threespined Stickleback, the Tidewater Goby, the Red Legged frog and steelhead, and are used for public recreation and enjoyment.

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