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Press Room

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

Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary Designation to Advance

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced it is seeking public comment on designation of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. Nominated by the Northern Chumash Tribal Council in 2015, the proposed sanctuary would stretch from Cambria to Gaviota Creek and offshore to include Rodriguez Seamount, Arguello Canyon, and Santa Lucia Bank. This area includes sacred submerged sites of the Chumash Peoples, important oceanographic features, and prime habitat for marine life. 

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Santa Barbara County Planning Commission Rejects ExxonMobil’s Plan to Restart Offshore Platforms, Truck Oil

The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission has voted to deny ExxonMobil’s proposal to transport oil by tanker trucks along hazardous California highway so it can restart three drilling platforms off the Santa Barbara coast. The 3-2 initial vote came unexpectedly on Sept. 29, during the first of two days of scheduled public hearings on the project, and is expected to be followed Nov. 3 with a formal vote and findings recommending the Board of Supervisors deny the project.

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Santa Barbara County to Hold Public Hearings on ExxonMobil’s Plan to Restart Offshore Platforms, Truck Oil

The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission will hold online public hearings Sept. 29 and Oct. 1 on ExxonMobil’s proposal to transport oil by tanker trucks along hazardous California highways so it can restart three drilling platforms off the Santa Barbara coast.  The plan calls for up to 24,800 oil-filled truck trips per year on coastal Highway 101 and hazardous Route 166, 24 hours a day, to refineries for up to seven years or whenever a new coastal oil pipeline is completed, whichever is shorter. ExxonMobil’s three offshore platforms near Santa Barbara were shut down in 2015 after the Plains All American Pipeline ruptured and spilled thousands of gallons of oil along the California coast.

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Nine Members of Congress Support Environmental Groups in Lawsuit to Protect Against Offshore Fracking

Nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Representative Salud Carbajal, filed a brief in support of appeals filed by the Environmental Defense Center and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, the State of California, and other environmental groups, in their case challenging federal government agencies’ approval of offshore fracking and acidizing.  The brief, which was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, explains why the federal government should have conducted thorough environmental review before approving such activities. 

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Santa Barbara County Staff Recommends Approval of ExxonMobil’s Plan to Restart Offshore Platforms, Truck Oil

Santa Barbara County’s Planning and Development Department has issued a staff report recommending that policymakers approve ExxonMobil’s proposal to transport oil by tanker trucks so it can restart three drilling platforms off the California coast. Opponents of the project vow to stop it, starting at Santa Barbara County Planning Commission hearings on the plan set for Sept. 29 and Oct. 1. 

The report reverses the position staff took last year recommending against the use of hazardous Highway 166 as too dangerous. After that recommendation and the announcement by Phillips 66 that it will shut down its Santa Maria refinery and related pipelines — Exxon’s preferred destination for getting its offshore oil to market — by 2023, the company delayed the project. A revised final environmental impact report was released last month.

 

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Santa Barbara County Releases ExxonMobil’s Revised Plan to Restart Offshore Platforms, Truck Oil in California

Santa Barbara County has released a revised final environmental impact report for ExxonMobil’s proposal to transport oil by tanker trucks so it can restart three drilling platforms off California, setting up hearings and a vote on the project this fall. Santa Barbara County Planning Commission hearings on the plan were set for Sept. 29 and Oct. 1.  The plan calls for up to 70 oil-filled trucks per day on coastal Highway 101 and hazardous Route 166, 24 hours a day, for up to seven years. Santa Barbara County planning staff last year recommended against trucking on Route 166 as too dangerous for motorists and natural resources such as the Cuyama River.

 

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White House & Governor Newsom Agree to Open Two Areas of California Coast to Offshore Wind

Today, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl, and Governor Gavin Newsom announced an agreement to open two areas of the California Coast to offshore floating wind. This agreement includes an extension of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management 2018 Morro Bay Call Area. This Call Area now encompasses 399 square miles, approximately 20 miles off the coast near Morro Bay and Cambria, and would accommodate 3 GW of energy production.  

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Environmental Defense Center Brings on New Staff

The Environmental Defense Center (EDC) is pleased to announce the addition of Rachel Kondor as a Staff Attorney and Peter Jones as a Legal Fellow.  Ms. Kondor is well known to this community because she previously served as a District Representative for Congresswoman Lois Capps. In this role Ms. Kondor developed the Congresswoman’s legislation to designate wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, the Carrizo Plain National Monument, and the Condor National Recreational Trail in the Los Padres National Forest. Prior to that, she served as a Senior Legislative Assistant for environmental and tribal matters to Congressman Raúl Grijalva, staffing him in his role on the Natural Resources Committee and as Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. Ms. Kondor also has extensive experience working on environmental policy as an attorney and consultant for various nonprofit organizations.

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Senators Wiener and Limón Introduce Legislation to Ban Fracking and Other Destructive Oil Extraction Methods and to Require Distance Between Oil Extraction and Homes and Schools

EDC’s Staff Attorney, Tara Messing, joined Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) as they introduced new legislation (SB 467) which halts the issuance or renewal of permits for hydraulic fracturing (fracking), acid well stimulation treatments, cyclic steaming, and water and steam flooding starting January 1, 2022, and then prohibits these extraction methods entirely starting January 1, 2027. It will also require distance between oil extraction and homes and schools.

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Ocean Advocates Applaud Biden Administration’s Actions on Ocean Protection

California advocates are celebrating today’s announcement from the Biden administration to halt oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters. Advocates with the Protect the Pacific Coalition cite the need to protect the U.S. coastal economy from the risks of oil spills, the growing urgency of addressing the climate crisis, and the potential for healthy oceans to serve as a powerful climate solution.

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Strike Three – Terracore Is Out!

The withdrawal of the Terracore oil and gas project (formerly known as ERG and now Cat Canyon Resources) is the final nail in the coffin for what could have been a massive expansion of risky oil and gas operations in Santa Barbara County. For years now, oil operators in the Cat Canyon Oil Field have been actively pursuing three steam injection projects to drill around 760 new wells in the Field, add over 400 tanker truck trips to local roadways and highways, and contribute nearly 700,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year—wreaking havoc on our communities’ air and climate. Earlier this year, Aera Energy, LLC and PetroRock withdrew their applications for more oil drilling in Cat Canyon.

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ExxonMobil Oil Trucking Plan Jeopardized by Refinery Shutdown, County Staff Opposition to Using Dangerous Route 166

ExxonMobil’s plans to restart its offshore drilling platforms in Santa Barbara County and truck that oil through California have been undermined by two unrelated announcements. Opponents responded today by calling on the company to abandon the project and decommission its offshore operations.  Santa Barbara County planning staff yesterday released a report opposing the use of State Route 166 to truck oil to Kern County, saying that use of this route would increase the likelihood of accidents and oil spills. Then Phillips 66 announced late yesterday that it will close its Santa Maria Refinery and related pipelines by 2023, shutting down the other option for ExxonMobil to get its offshore oil to a refinery.  

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Santa Barbara County to Vote on ExxonMobil Plan to Restart Offshore Platforms, Truck Oil in California  

Santa Barbara County has released the final environmental impact report on ExxonMobil’s proposal to transport oil by tanker trucks so it can restart three drilling platforms off California, setting up a vote on the project.  The plan calls for up to 70 oil-filled trucks per day on coastal Highway 101 and Route 166, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission is scheduled to hold hearings on the project on Sept. 2 and Sept. 9 before voting on it.

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Another Oil Project Down: Community Health and the Environment Safeguarded

Today marks the end of another dirty oil project proposed by Aera Energy, LLC (“Aera”) in the Cat Canyon Oil Field.  Hundreds of oil tanker trucks will not flood our local roadways; thousands of native oak trees and threatened wildlife will survive; and our water will not be jeopardized by risky steam injection operations.  After three years of fighting to halt Aera’s efforts to massively expand oil production in Santa Barbara County, our community now celebrates the extraordinary news that our clean air and water will not be put at risk for dirty oil. 

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