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2018 Press Releases

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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Program to Protect Blue Whales and Blue Skies Launched

The partners in an initiative to cut air pollution and protect whales today announced the launch of the 2018 incentive program, which will start July 1 and end November 15, 2018, with voluntary vessel speed reduction (VSR) zones in the Santa Barbara Channel region and San Francisco Bay area. This year, financial incentives will be awarded to shipping companies based on the percent of distance traveled by their vessels through the VSR zones at 10 knots or less and with an average speed that does not exceed 12 knots. The 10 knot target was selected by the partnership for consistency. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sanctuaries request  vessels 300 gross tons or larger to slow to 10 knots or less during the months of peak whale abundance to protect whales from lethal ship strikes.

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Jane Fonda and Gail Osherenko to Receive Environmental Hero Awards at EDC’s Green & Blue Event

On Sunday, June 3rd, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) will honor film and television legend, Jane Fonda and local documentary filmmaker, Gail Osherenko, as part of the organization’s annual event: Green & Blue: A Coastal Celebration. Both Ms. Fonda and Ms. Osherenko will be presented with EDC’s Environmental Hero Award which has previously been bestowed on Jack Johnson, Jackson Brown, Yvon Chouinard, and Jean Michel Cousteau, among others.

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CLEAN WATER ACT ENFORCEMENT ACTION INITIATED AGAINST PACIFIC COAST ENERGY COMPANY FOR ITS ORCUTT HILLS OIL OPERATION

Today the Environmental Defense Center (“EDC”) notified Pacific Coast Energy Company LP (“PCEC”) (formerly BreitBurn Energy Company LP), of its intent to sue 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, drains into Orcutt Creek and San Antonio Creek, which then drain into the Santa Maria River and 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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