Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

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Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling
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Los Padres National Forest (file photo)

Source: Los Padres ForestWatch

[On October 31], the Trump administration finalized a study on the environmental and public health impacts of fracking, the last step in completing a Resource Management Plan that opens more than one million acres of lands throughout the coastal and interior regions of central California to new oil drilling and fracking. The action ends a 5-year moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on federal lands in California.

The study, which includes eight Central California counties from San Luis Obispo County in the North to Ventura County in the south, and from the coast inland to the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range, was fast-tracked by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to adhere to an executive order issued by the Trump administration. It found that fracking poses no significant impacts and recommended no changes to the plan that allows drilling and fracking on federal lands including in and adjacent to national forests, parks and monuments; state, county and city parks and beaches; state and federal wildlife refuges and ecological reserves; important waterways like rivers and reservoirs; school campuses; segments of the Pacific Crest Trail; and other areas especially sensitive to environmental and health impacts.

Click here for an interactive map showing the lands now open for leasing. A summary of key areas is attached.

“If the BLM didn’t find impacts from oil drilling and fracking next to schools, under rivers and reservoirs, and in habitat that harbors endangered animals, it’s because they didn’t look,” said ForestWatch executive director Jeff Kuyper. “The BLM has wasted taxpayers’ money and will cause irreparable damage with this sham study that places our treasured landscapes and communities at great risk.”

Nearly one-hundred thousand area residents submitted letters and hundreds attended public meetings expressing concern over water and air pollution, public health and climate impacts, and damage to protected wildlife habitat and sensitive species. The BLM refused to consider most public input by rejecting what it considered form letters, verbal testimony, and comments that did not provide what it termed “substantive” information.

Cities, counties, Native American tribes and organizations, NGOs, the US Navy, and elected officials were among those who sent letters opposing the plan which would allow oil companies to lease federally controlled mineral rights for oil development for as little as $2 an acre. The cities of Ojai and San Luis Obispo, and the County of Santa Barbara, all passed resolutions opposing the administration’s plan to allow oil drilling and fracking that would threaten public resources and current land use. Once the federal leases are purchased, the agencies will have little authority over how the lands are developed and whether impacts are mitigated.

“Every step of the way, the Trump administration declined to do its job to put public health and the safety of the environment before corporate interests,” said ForestWatch advocacy director Rebecca August. “It’s sad to see such disregard for the future of our public lands and the communities that depend on them.”

Due to a technicality invoked by the Trump administration, there is no formal appeal or public review process for the BLM’s decision. ForestWatch is working with its partners to evaluate next steps. The matter could end up back in federal court; a judge ordered the BLM study in response to a 2016 lawsuit brought by ForestWatch and the Center for Biological Diversity. 

KEY LANDSCAPES TARGETED BY BLM DRILLING/FRACKING PLAN IN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

Carpinteria & Cate School–A 40-acre parcel within 2,000 feet of Cate School and directly adjacent to the Los Padres National Forest. This is a privately-owned parcel with federally-owned subsurface mineral rights.

Santa Ynez Mountains–Two BLM parcels along the crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains. One (217 acres) is on the north face of Bald Mountain. The other (120acres) is in the headwaters of Nojoqui Creek near Nojoqui Falls County Park. Both are directly adjacent to the Los Padres National Forest.

Scenic Highway154–Two small Bureau of Reclamation parcels (20 acres total) near Lake Cachuma along Highway 154, a California Scenic Highway.

Lake Cachuma–A 40-acre Bureau of Reclamation parcel on the north side of Lake Cachuma near Happy Canyon Road, adjacent to the Los Padres National Forest.

Sisquoc River & San Rafael Wilderness–Several parcels totaling 1,766 acres inside the national forest boundary near the Sisquoc River, including one parcel adjacent to the San Rafael Wilderness and another parcel straddling the Sisquoc River, which is critical habitat for endangered steelhead.

Tepusquet Canyon–several BLM parcels totaling 1,793 acres in a rural, remote canyon east of Santa Maria. One of the largest parcels straddles Colson Canyon Road, one of the few gateways into the Los Padres National Forest in northern Santa Barbara County.

Cuyama Valley Foothills–13,375 acres along the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains in the Cuyama Valley. Most of these parcels are adjacent to national forest lands proposed for wilderness protection under the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act introduced in the House and Senate earlier this year. Two areas to be opened to drilling and fracking are major gateways into the Los Padres National Forest–Santa Barbara Canyon and Bates Canyon. Both have publicly-accessibly trailheads and roads leading into the Los Padres National Forest.

Purisima Hills–several parcels between Los Alamos and Lompoc in the Purisima Hills, including 4 parcels totaling 160 acres owned by the Rancho Santa Rita Preserve, part of the state-and federally-approved La Purisima Conservation Bank. The 853-acre bank–the first of its kind in Santa Barbara County–provides a mechanism for developers and agencies to mitigate their impacts by purchasing mitigation credits at the property. The conservation bank contains a healthy population of endangered California tiger salamanders.

Vandenberg Air Force Base–Nearly the entire Vandenberg Air Force Base—102,650 acres—is slated as “open” for drilling. This includes Ocean Beach County Park—one of the few coastal access points for residents of the City of Lompoc. Portions of Point Sal County Park and Point Sal State Beach are also opened for drilling/fracking under the plan.

City of Lompoc–3,158 acres within city limits of the City of Lompoc, including farmland and open space west of Highway 1 and north of the Lompoc Airport.

Ken Adam Park – The 42-acre Ken Adam Park near Allan Hancock College features a large group picnic area, a children's playground, individual picnic areas, horseshoes, volleyball, nature trails, six primitive RV campsites, and restroom facilities. It also contains a magnificent three-poled flag monument which sits on a bluff overlooking Lompoc. The flag monument was developed as a project of the former Western Spaceport Museum project. The park is named after Ken Adam, the longtime owner and publisher of the Lompoc Record newspaper. It’s part of a larger 118-acre property that contains 76 acres of undeveloped open space. The city’s Parks and Recreation Department is developing a comprehensive master plan for the entire property.

Allan Hancock College – The college’s Lompoc Valley Center is a satellite location to the main Allan Hancock College campus in Santa Maria. The Lompoc Valley Center provides courses for 34 degree and certificate programs, along with a Public Safety Training Complex that houses the college’s police, fire, emergency medical services, and environmental technology programs. The state-of-the-art complex includes a six-story fire tower, one-mile Emergency Vehicle Operations course, a ‘scenario’ village, shooting range, fitness track, obstacle course and much more.

Jalama Beach County Park – Most of the federal mineral estate underneath this locally-popular beach are zoned for drilling and fracking. Fossil fuel development here would also affect the adjacent Jack & Laura Dangermond Preserve, which was acquired by The Nature Conservancy in 2017 and covers 8 miles of coastline and 24,000 acres between Hollister Ranch and Vandenberg Air Force Base.

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a-1573424399 Nov 10, 2019 02:19 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

We travel quite a bit, and less than 10 days ago we were in Colorado. The price of gasoline was almost two dollars less per gallon (if your vehicle takes 30 gallons, that is nearly $60 more to fill 'er up). I don't know about anyone else, but the price we pay for gas here in SB is quite high. We maintain three vehicles (each has its own use), and we are shelling out thousands of dollars a year extra to run them. We are considering getting an eco-friendly vehicle for our sightseeing trips, but none of them have the range we're after. I guess if we own cars that run on gasoline, we're sorta stuck! (I cannot imagine giving up my fully loaded custom 1979 El Camino!)

Luvaduck Nov 11, 2019 10:58 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

After the last gas "crisis" when gas prices went high, for a few years, people stopped buying land yachts and miniture semi-trucks. Didn't last. What's on the road in CA now is<predominately> very large personal vehicles. Other than someone transporting teams, does anyone really <need> a Navigator, Exterminator or any of the other impossible to park in a normal parking space vehicle? And how about those pick-ups that are too long and high to fit in a garage? Do you enjoy blocking a lane in parking lots or taking 2 spaces to park? (Bet the answer to both is "yes" for some.)

Chip of SB Nov 11, 2019 12:29 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

Yes, only rich people should be allowed to select a personal vehicle of their choice and drive freely. We need to increase the gasoline tax until the middle class and the poor can no longer do that. What will they think of next...

humungous Nov 10, 2019 03:49 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

I'm surprised that this post doesn't mention the SB supervisor's recent vote to ban further gas and oil drilling in our county. Does anyone (with real knowledge and wisdom) know how that decision will impact this effort by Agent Orange to pollute and degrade our beautiful home?

goletatim Nov 10, 2019 05:47 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

Does anyone have seismic lines or data from nearby wells that we could look at to see if there are viable reservoirs and traps for oil/gas accumulation? Need some proof of a trap that could hold hydrocarbons. Without that information it would be tough to lure in a company to drill, but if there is...I'd give a couple bucks as an investment. Some of the acreages in the list are pretty small, so I'd have to guess that nothing will ever happen in those holdings.

yacht rocked Nov 10, 2019 07:02 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

Not going to happen without California's cooperation. Can't move the oil from the drill site without permits for pipelines or trucking. This is just another poke in the eye from the Trump mafia.

comment1 Nov 11, 2019 07:29 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

The tRump administration is so corrupt and inept and sides only with big money and the tRump family interests. . . NEVER with the environment or looking to the future. Better to run out of oil and look to the alternatives than to destroy this country and its National Parks, its natural beauty. CA needs to continue to fight this despot President and its regime of sycophants.

SBWalkers Nov 11, 2019 07:42 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

For the people that think we should continue on the track of oil based energy, I recommend researching (Google or whatever) how much oil based 'energy' is estimated that remains on the planet. Then thunk about how short of a time we (humans) have been using that oil based energy.... let me paraphrase... we have been using major amounts of oil since about 1900 and dramatically increasing every year... so that's about 120 years... if you look at the estimates we have about 50 years of oil based energy remaining. THAT is what we are handing to our children and grandchildren. If we do not find and incorporate renewable energy resources, the results should be obvious. those non-believers... please thunk about it. And the Orange Idiot, wants to increase consumption... jeezers

oops Nov 11, 2019 07:53 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

50 years of oil will outlast the 12 years that AOC gave us.... not interested in fear mongering. Come up with a more efficient fuel. Electric vehicles are a farce cuz what do you think powers the energy plants that creates the electricity to charge them....OIL!

SBWalkers Nov 11, 2019 08:07 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

Recharging can come from allot of other resources rather than oil based energy.... Wind, Sunlight, Ocean Currents.... we just need to put our science brains to alternative energy with the same enthusiasm as our science has done in the past 100 years to oil based energy..

Luvaduck Nov 11, 2019 10:51 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

Short-term stupidity, greed and ego vs. long-term planning, community, conservation, common sense. Destroying beauty, rational stewardship & restorative recreation vs. poisoned land & water, strip mall arcades, TV and concrete jungle living.

biguglystick Nov 11, 2019 11:27 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

I seriously do not understand how ANYONE in their right mind could downvote your comment, SBWALKERS. It makes perfect sense and it's full of truth. If you think the economy is more important that the environment, try holding your breath while you're counting your money!!!

jqb Nov 11, 2019 08:07 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

It was the IPCC, not AOC, that warned that we only had 12 (now 11) years to make changes that would avoid pushing global average temperature to catastrophic levels. Of course oil will outlast that ... that's part of the problem. (Another large part of the problem is widespread deep ignorance and denial as manifested in such comments.)

greytfull Nov 11, 2019 08:33 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

9/9/2019: California lawmakers challenge Trump’s bid to expand oil drilling and fracking statewide
SACRAMENTO — California on Monday sought to block the Trump administration from allowing new oil and gas wells in national parks and wilderness areas in the state.
“This bill is all about California fighting the Trump administration’s plan to frack and drill in some of our most beautiful federal protected lands and national monuments,”

a-1573491897 Nov 11, 2019 09:04 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

Big question mark. I'm not for drilling here. Fracking is a bad idea in earthquake country (check out Oklahoma). I want to contribute to solutions for Climate Change. Then, there's this, too, and how do we undo it? Over 6,000 products are made from petroleum. One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline. The rest (over half) is used to make things like: Rubbing Alcohol, Insecticides, Lipstick, Hair Coloring, Paint, Shampoo, Guitar Strings, Putty, Bicycle Tires, Skis, Deodorant, Toilet Seats, Yarn, Refrigerant, Candles, Shaving Cream, Toothpaste, Ballpoint Pens, Mops, Nylon Rope, Antifreeze, Clothes, Wheels, Aspirin, Balloons, Crayons, Cortisone, Food Preservatives, Roofing, Water Pipes, Roller Skates, Safety Glasses, etc. See 144 of them here: https://www.ranken-energy.com/index.php/products-made-from-petroleum/

Red Creek Nov 11, 2019 10:41 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

No doubt petro products are useful and necessary, but we don't have to burn it and release the carbondetrius into our environment for us to breath and pollute the planet. We can find a clean source to fuel our homes and vehicles, save the remaining resource for stuff that doesn't ruin the atmosphere. Otherwise we are going to burn up like frogs in a pot someday.

a-1573505501 Nov 11, 2019 12:51 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

If you're supporting the need for "jobs and energy" but then "disagreeing" with wind energy jobs, then aren't you kind of a hypocrite, just the same as the type POGCHAMPION1 complains of? Thin about it, but don't give yourselves headaches haha!

biguglystick Nov 11, 2019 11:25 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

From all the downvoting on comments here, it looks like tRUMPers are alive and well in California. Ugh. I hate this GOP more than anything I've ever hated in my life. And yes, that's a strong word. What are we leaving for our children? If you live here, that means you appreciate natural beauty and you're willing to pay the price to keep it. Why let them destroy it? Say NO to big oil!

Chip of SB Nov 11, 2019 11:47 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

Don't hate! Love is the answer. I think the vast majority of people are good. The vast majority of people want to make a better world for their children. Yes, that even applies to Trump supporters and "republicans." If you open your heart and mind and get to know these people, I think your hatred will fade. In the end, love wins!

Chip of SB Nov 11, 2019 11:29 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

Santa Barbara was built on oil tax revenue! Oil revenue funded the construction of our iconic courthouse. Today, oil provides the foundation for our modern economy and our standard of living. Someday we may find more economical materials and energy sources than oil. However, until then oil will continue to be an essential part of our lives. Developing our oil and gas resources will provide lots of solid middle class jobs and will be a great benefit to our economy. I would also suggest trying to plan the oil and gas development to help us improve our public lands. For example, developing oil and gas resources in remote parts of the county will require roads and infrastructure. Why not plan so new roads help improve access for forest management and firefighting? We could also make the land more accessible to the public for recreation. We could also require thinning and clearing of overgrown land in the areas where oil and gas development takes place and in strategic areas nearby to help mitigate the fire danger. Finally, we could set aside aside some of the oil tax revenue to help better manage and maintain public lands. I think this could be a great situation all around. Jobs and economic growth in conjunction with better managed and more accessible public lands. Instead of all the hatred and resistance, I would suggest taking a pragmatic approach and trying to plan oil and gas development to achieve the greatest possible good. As far as environmental concerns go, I ask the following question. Which is better for the environment, oil and gas exploration conducted here in an environmentally responsible manner or rare earth mining and battery manufacture conducted in China?

Flicka Nov 11, 2019 11:55 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

Santa Barbara founded on oil? You must be joking. SB was founded and has been growing since 1782. I read recently that all the oil ever taken out of our channel would be enough to run the whole country for ONE day. All this trying to shame anyone who doesn't agree with this administration trying to literally wreck havoc on our ocean and hills for actually a miniscule amount of oil in the big picture is not paying too much attention. Lots of jobs? The oil companies for the most part bring in their experienced workers.

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