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2024 Press Releases

Legal Fight to Preserve Agricultural Heritage in Santa Ynez Valley Ends in Success

The Environmental Defense Center (EDC) and Santa Barbara County Action Network (SBCAN) celebrated the withdrawal of an appeal by developers, leaving in place a Superior Court decision in favor of preserving agriculture in the Santa Ynez Valley. The multi-year effort by developers to subdivide the 4,000-acre historic Rancho La Laguna into 13 parcels could have resulted in construction of over a dozen high-end residential estates. The owners of Rancho La Laguna, including a Hollywood producer, sued the County in 2017 after the Board of Supervisors denied the subdivision. EDC, on behalf of SBCAN, intervened in the lawsuit to defend the County’s action. In 2023, a Santa Barbara Superior Court ruled against the developers in their lawsuit, upholding the County’s denial of Rancho La Laguna’s proposal to subdivide. The developers appealed the Superior Court’s decision, but they have now withdrawn the appeal, formally ending the litigation.

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ExxonMobil Drops Court Bid to Truck Oil in Santa Barbara

ExxonMobil’s dangerous proposal to truck massive amounts of oil along California highways is dead after the company dropped its lawsuit challenging Santa Barbara County’s denial of the plan. Exxon’s plan would have helped the company restart three drilling platforms off the Santa Barbara coast. The platforms, built in the 1980s, have been shut down since the disastrous 2015 Refugio oil spill that leaked more than 140,000 gallons of heavy crude on the Gaviota Coast and into the ocean. Exxon notified the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California late Thursday that the company is dismissing its lawsuit.

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