Read EDC’s recent and historical press releases, editorials, and reports.
Read EDC’s recent and historical press releases, editorials, and reports.
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.
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.
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.Read More
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.Read More
Today, Governor Newsom directed the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) to initiate a regulatory action to ban new permits for fracking by 2024 and asked the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to analyze pathways to phase out oil extraction across the state by 2045.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Pressure is mounting on the five members of the State Water Board (“Board”) to make the right choice between clean water or dirty oil in Santa Barbara County. Safeguarding the quality of Californians’ drinking water is the mission that guides this agency. Yet, the Board now faces a decision on a proposal that could allow oil and gas operators to inject steam and millions of gallons of toxic wastewater into aquifers beneath the Cat Canyon Oil Field in Santa Barbara County. Injections of oil field fluids threaten to contaminate groundwater used by County residents for drinking and agriculture. Today, the Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”) submitted a letter on behalf of forty-six organizations asking the Board to direct its staff to reject the proposal and protect our state’s precious water supplies.Read More
On March, 27, 2020, PetroRock LLC officially withdrew its application to drill and operate hundreds of new wells in the north central portion of the Cat Canyon Oil Field, located just 10 miles from Santa Maria. PetroRock’s proposal threatened our local environment and community health, planning to drill 231 new wells, develop twenty-nine well pads, construct five dirty steam generators, use risky steam injection techniques to extract the heavy crude oil in the Field, and add dangerous oil tanker trucks to local roads.Read More
Today, state and federal agencies published a proposed settlement agreement with Plains All American Pipeline (“Plains”) in response to the May 19, 2015 Refugio Oil Spill. This spill resulted in hundreds of thousands of gallons of heavy crude along 150 miles of the California Coast, from Gaviota to the Channel Islands, and as far south as Orange County. The spill closed public beaches and parks, 138 square miles of fisheries, and killed hundreds of marine mammals and seabirds. The public has until April 18 to comment on the settlement. The agreement would set the amount of penalties and damages that Plains would pay to state and federal agencies to compensate for the harm from the massive oil spill and to pay for restoration projects. In addition, the agreement would allow Plains to restart the damaged pipeline. The Environmental Defense Center has several significant concerns with the proposed settlement.Read More
EDC reached a final settlement with Pacific Coast Energy Company LP (“PCEC”), for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”). 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. The settlement will reduce polluted runoff from the Orcutt Hill facility and establish a $115,000 fund for projects that enhance the quality of local watersheds.Read More