So began the Environmental Defense Center (EDC), a unique idea for its time, as our founders embarked on a mission to provide the community with the tools to address emerging environmental threats in the wake of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill. Marc McGinnes, EDC’s founder and a local attorney, established EDC with a small team of attorneys, interns, and volunteers to empower other organizations to achieve their environmental protection goals. He recognized not only the threats to our region, but also the opportunities to address such threats and plan for a healthier future, thanks to the plethora of laws passed by Congress in response to the 1969 Oil Spill and other environmental disasters.
Our county and community breathed a sigh of relief when the results of the November 3 Presidential election were finally announced. While we don’t envy the burden placed on the new Administration to reverse four years of threats to our nation, most notably the failure to protect us from a global pandemic, we are also optimistic and excited about what a Biden Administration may accomplish.
Donald Trump clearly enjoys his superlatives. He proclaimed himself to be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created,” he lauded his hiring of the “best people,” having “the best words,” getting “the biggest crowds,” and so on. It was no surprise, then, when President Trump and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed a new Draft Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program pushing for the “largest number of (oil) lease sales in U.S. History.” In fairness to this terrifying description, if the Administration succeeds with their plan as introduced, they would indeed open more than 90% of our coast to new offshore drilling!
Fracking and acidizing threaten our marine wildlife, recreation, clean air, and water quality and yet they are taking place without proper environmental review from oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel, home to a National Park, a Marine Sanctuary, and a network of Marine Protected Areas. EDC has been a leader in discovering fracking was taking place from platforms off our coast, and filed the first ever lawsuit challenging the federal government’s lack of adequate review. Linda Krop discusses our continued work on this issue and protect our precious coast from the potential impacts for these dangerous practices.
The Plains All American Pipeline oil spill at Refugio Beach continues to have a significant impact on our community. Clean-up and monitoring operations continue, and the full extent of the environmental and economic harm to our region will not be known for some time. Restoring the environment will take even longer. The Oil Pollution Act […]
It is hard to believe it has already been one month since the Plains All American Pipeline leaked more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil onto our precious Gaviota Coast, closing once pristine state parks and so far killing a minimum of 280 marine mammals and seabirds. EDC staff has been engaged on multiple fronts, doing essential legal research and investigation and advancing regional, statewide, and federal solutions to ensure our region never again has to face this kind of devastation.
It has been an emotional experience, standing on Refugio State Beach, overwhelmed and nauseated by the stench and facing the damage that crude oil has once again caused to our precious coastline. It’s not like we haven’t been here before. But somehow each time oil befouls a treasured beach or I see the dark sheen of oil floating toward the horizon, it hits me like a fresh punch.