Santa Maria Energy Oil & Gas Project

  • Goal: Ensure reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • Year Started: 2012
  • Clients: Community Environmental Council, Get Oil Out!, Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter, Santa Barbara County Action Network, Santa Ynez Valley Alliance

As originally proposed, the Santa Maria Energy Project would have been one of the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters in Santa Barbara County. In 2012, Santa Maria Energy filed an application to drill more than 100 new wells between Lompoc and Orcutt. The project is slated to utilize use an oil extraction process known as cyclic steam injection. This procedure is much more energy and carbon intensive than normal oil drilling, and uses massive quantities of water. Steam injection has also been linked to oil seeps and contaminated groundwater in other areas of the country.

Once operational, the Santa Maria Energy Project would have generated an alarming 87,000 tons of GHG emissions each year. However, EDC and our clients eventually pushed the Board of Supervisors to require Santa Maria Energy to offset approximately 90% of the emissions, reducing them to10,000 tons of GHG emissions annually. While this is still a dangerous and significant number, it is much less than it would have otherwise been before the efforts of EDC and our clients.

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