General Conservation Plan for Oil and Gas Activities in Santa Barbara County

  • Goal: To protect imperiled species and their habitat from dangerous oil and gas activities in Santa Barbara County
  • Year Started: 2017
  • Clients SBCAN, Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter, Environmental Defense Center

Numerous threatened and endangered species inhabit Santa Barbara County’s Cat Canyon area, including the California red-legged frog, the California tiger salamander, and the Lompoc yerba santa. In order to drill in this area inhabited by species protected under the Endangered Species Act, oil companies need permits from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Now, the Service has drafted a mis-named “General Conservation Plan for Oil and Gas Activities” (Plan) which is designed to streamline the “take” permits for projects that would harm or kill these species.

Oil and gas development can have devastating impacts on imperiled species by grading over habitat, polluting streams and groundwater, and killing them during construction, trucking, and spills. Despite the alarming worldwide trend towards species extinction, the Plan would allow the permanent destruction of 675 acres of California tiger salamander habitat, at least 355 acres of California red-legged frog habitat, and 27.5 acres of habitat for the Lompoc yerba santa. Additionally, the Plan would allow oil companies to kill a certain number of tiger salamanders and red-legged frogs each year.

On behalf of Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter, SBCAN, and our members, EDC is working to ensure this Plan does not get approved.  We have submitted comments on the draft Plan and have requested the Service to withdraw it all together, since the 2020 defeat of the three proposed oil projects in Cat Canyon. It is essential that EDC and our clients continue to push back against this dangerous plan which has nothing to do with conservation, and to ensure protection of these species and their habitat.

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