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2020 Press Releases

EDC Responds to Plains All American Settlement

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.

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EDC Settles Clean Water Act Case Against PCEC’s Orcutt Hill Oil Operation

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.

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Environmental Defense Center Brings on New Staff

The Environmental Defense Center (EDC) is proud to announce three new staff members have been brought on to replace departing employees. They include Staff Attorney, Elizabeth Fisher, Office Manager & Event Coordinator, Daniel Elkin, and Development Coordinator, Jessica Dias. At the same time the organization has created a new leadership position, and promoted Betsy Weber, its longtime Communications Director to take on the position of Assistant Director. These staff transitions come at a critical time for the nonprofit public interest law firm, with growing public awareness of the urgency of global warming, and facing a hostile federal administration, an empowered oil industry, and a significant load of climate-related cases.

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Fund for Santa Barbara Supports EDC to Prevent Tripling of Onshore Oil Production in Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County faces a tripling of onshore oil production. Three oil companies are proposing to drill and operate over 700 new wells in Cat Canyon Oil Field, posing dangerous threats to clean air, clean water, public safety, and our climate. What’s more, these oil companies are not proposing conventional oil drilling, which is risky enough, but rather they are seeking permits for extreme, enhanced oil extraction processes known as cyclic steam injection and steam flooding, which are far riskier and more energy intensive than traditional drilling. The Environmental Defense Center (EDC) has just received $10,000 in grant funding from the Fund for Santa Barbara to help confront this major threat.

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Forest Service Extends Target Shooting Ban in Los Padres National Forest

The U.S. Forest Service has announced that it will extend for another six months a ban on unmanaged target shooting throughout the Los Padres National Forest. The ban—first announced in January 2019—allows forest officials and volunteers to address the proliferation of litter, soil and water contamination, wildfires, vandalism, impacts to endangered wildlife, and other environmental and public safety hazards caused by decades of unmanaged target shooting across nearly two million acres of public lands in Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and western Kern counties.

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