Past Victories

EDC's past victories

Waving goodbye to the last oil barge transporting oil along the California Coast.

Since 1977, EDC has been protecting the local environment of Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.  In a region with so much to offer in terms of precious coastline, irreplaceable agricultural land, and open space and other environmental treasures, exploitation of the commons will always be a threat. EDC is here to ensure that the public is represented in the face of wealthy and powerful opposing interests.

Over the years, EDC has represented nearly 140 nonprofit, community organizations in their efforts to protect what makes our region such a special place to live, work, and play. Some of our past, notable victories are listed below, and you can also check out our Top Ten Accomplishments of 2023.

Santa Barbara Channel

  • Protected threatened sea otters by forcing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its “no otter” zone prohibiting otters from returning to their native range south of Pt. Conception to the Mexico border
  • Successfully advocated for establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) along California’s central and southern coast
  • Worked with the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and California Department of Fish and Game to establish the largest network of marine reserves (underwater parks) in the country
  • Settled lawsuit requiring the National Park Service to protect water quality, endangered species and habitat, and public access at Santa Rosa Island

Clean Water

  • Settled a lawsuit brought against the Environmental Protection Agency that forced the EPA to update its stormwater program, thus reducing the threat of water pollution on public health, wildlife, and recreation.
  • Successfully settled a lawsuit with the Ojai Quarry to ensure clean water and protect endangered steelhead trout in Matilija Creek, a major tributary of the Ventura River
  • Brought two separate lawsuits against Ventura County oil fields that resulted in settlements to reduce polluted runoff, ensuring clean water and protection of wildlife and human health and recreation. Our settlement with Rincon Grubb Oil Field secured an agreement that was the first in the County to require advance notice of any fracking scheduled for the field.
  • Worked with the Regional Water Quality Control Board to reduce polluted water runoff from agriculture operations
  • Helped pass Santa Barbara’s Measure B which raises around $2 million each year to clean up city creeks
  • Launched the Santa Barbara ChannelKeeper

Photo courtesy of Brett Millar

Open Space & Wildlife

  • Helped preserve the Ellwood Mesa, the Wilcox property (Douglas Family Preserve), Sedgwick Ranch, Carpinteria Bluff, Fiscalini Ranch, Hearst Ranch, Ahmanson Ranch, Oxnard Shores, and the Burton Mesa Chaparral.
  • Protected waterways, public trails and recreation areas, endangered and threatened wildlife, and human health in the Los Padres National Forest by securing a ban on unmanaged target shooting.
  • Filed a lawsuit that helped shut down the Halaco plant, one of the worst industrial polluters in the state, thereby protecting the Ormond Beach Wetlands in Oxnard
  • Protected the San Luis Obispo County coast from unfettered development at the Hearst Ranch and at East-West Ranch
  • Negotiated settlement agreement with the University of California, Santa Barbara that resulted in permanent preservation of open space and coastal habitats next to Devereux Slough
  • Helped develop plan and secure funding to restore lower Mission Creek and enhance endangered steelhead trout habitat in Santa Barbara
  • Saved the Arroyo Burro Trail, Haskell’s, and Hammonds Beach access from closure
  • Negotiated $5 million open space fund and establishment of the Goleta Valley Land Trust
  • Saved agricultural lands in Goleta and Santa Ynez by successfully implementing land use initiatives

Climate & Energy

  • Prevented one of the largest environmental justice threats in Santa Barbara County’s history with the defeat of three dangerous projects in Cat Canyon that would have more than tripled onshore oil production in the County
  • Fought the Trump Administration’s push to open up more than 90% of our nation’s coast to new oil and gas leases, including the Santa Barbara Channel.
  • Defeated the Puente Project that would have been the fourth dirty power plant on Oxnard’s beach, perpetuating environmental injustice in an area vulnerable to sea level rise and at odds with our region’s need to shift to renewable energy sources
  • Stopped Phillips 66’s proposal to increase oil trains along our coast, threatening our communities’ public safety, air and water quality, wildlife and sensitive habitat
  • Worked to ensure Santa Barbara County’s adoption of the strongest fracking protections of any California county
  • Stopped Pacific Coast Energy Company from expanding its cyclic steam injection operation and drilling 144 new oil wells near Orcutt
  • Helped community groups defeat a ballot measure that would have allowed Venoco to build the dangerous Paredon oil and gas project, including a new drilling rig on the coast in Carpinteria
  • Defeated three liquefied natural gas projects proposed near Pt. Conception and in the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties
  • Successfully stopped oil barging off the Ellwood coast – the last such operation in the state of California
  • Led the state-wide legal fight that successfully terminated 40 federal offshore oil leases
  • Defeated the Mobil Clearview oil drilling project at Ellwood

EDC’s Case Docket contains a more complete list of EDC’s accomplishments.

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