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2022 Press Releases

Federal Government Plan Will Facilitate Harm to Endangered And Threatened Species Caused By Oil and Gas Activities in Santa Barbara County

Environmental groups expressed alarm at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s approval of a plan that will expedite the permitting process for oil and gas activities that will harm three endangered and threatened species in Santa Barbara County. The plan, which encompasses a broad range of activities, from exploration to drilling and production, storage, transportation, and decommissioning, will allow oil companies to kill or injure the endangered California tiger salamander and Lompoc yerba santa and the threatened California red-legged frog. Although titled a “General Conservation Plan,” this plan is a holdover from the Trump Administration designed to expedite oil and gas drilling in Santa Barbara County, at the expense of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants, the sensitive coastline, and the health of our communities.

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ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS PREVAIL IN CALIFORNIA OFFSHORE FRACKING CASE

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion today ruling that the federal government violated environmental protection laws when it approved permits for fracking and acidizing from platforms offshore California. Today’s ruling protects the sensitive coastline and marine waters, local communities, and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species, from the risky practices of offshore fracking and acidizing. As the Court stated, the government had “disregarded necessary caution when dealing with the unknown effects of well stimulation treatments and the data gaps associated with a program of regular fracking offshore California.” The Court agreed with the Environmental Defense Center and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper that the government failed to conduct full environmental review, and should have prepared an Environmental Impact Statement to address the impacts of fracking and acidizing on wildlife, the Santa Barbara Channel, and endangered and threatened species.

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Christina McGinnis, Lauren Trujillo, and Gerardo Ayala Join Board of Environmental Defense Center

The Environmental Defense Center (EDC) is proud to announce that Christina McGinnis, Lauren Trujillo, and Gerardo (Gera) Ayala have joined the organization’s board of directors. Ms. McGinnis serves as EDC’s Governance Committee Chair and is an environmental consultant who previously worked for EDC and previously served on its board as co-President. Ms. Trujillo serves as EDC’s Secretary and works as the Director of the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation. Mr. Ayala has decades of experience serving as both staff and as a board member of nonprofit organizations and currently works for the Santa Barbara County Education Office. All three directors bring extensive experience with local nonprofits and community engagement.

 

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Violet Sage Walker and the Late Tribal Chief Fred Collins to Receive Environmental Hero Award at EDC’s Green & Blue Event

On Sunday, June 5th, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) will honor Violet Sage Walker and Fred Eagle Chief “SLO”W,” (Violet’s father, who passed away in 2021), as part of the organization’s annual event: Green & Blue: A Coastal Celebration. Violet and Fred will be presented with EDC’s Environmental Hero Award, which has previously been bestowed on other local and national leaders including Jane Fonda, Yvon Chouinard, Jack Johnson, Jean Michel Cousteau, and Jackson Brown, among others. Violet and Fred are fitting local additions to this illustrious group and are being recognized for their leadership in protecting our coastal resources, in part through their nomination of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, of which EDC has long been an active advocate.

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Legal Actions Challenge Huge Logging Project in Los Padres National Forest

A coalition of environmental, business, and recreational organizations—joined by the County of Ventura and the City of Ojai—filed suit in federal court today to challenge a commercial logging and vegetation removal project atop Pine Mountain and Reyes Peak in the Los Padres National Forest. The project area—equivalent in size to 575 American football fields—is located on ancestral lands of the Chumash. It is historically and culturally important to Indigenous people, popular with locals and tourists for a range of recreational activities, designated critical habitat for the endangered California condor, and home to other sensitive wildlife, rare plants, old-growth conifer forests, and unique ecosystems.

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Santa Barbara County Rejects ExxonMobil Oil-Trucking Plan

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted today to reject ExxonMobil’s proposal to transport oil by tanker trucks along hazardous California highways. The plan would have helped the company restart three 1980s drilling platforms off the Santa Barbara coast, shut down since the Refugio disaster seven years ago.

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