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. 


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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jqb Nov 12, 2019 01:34 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

Apparently he's not actually a stable genius; quite the opposite, really. According to senior members of the administration, he can only absorb one thing at a time and it has to be in pictures, not words.

a-1573593115 Nov 12, 2019 01:11 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

1:02 (and others who dispute facts) - President Trump said, and I quote, “If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value. And they say the noise causes cancer.” He thinks the noise of windmills causes cancer. He said those words. Here's the video of him saying those words:

a-1573519178 Nov 11, 2019 04:39 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

It’s all big money. Oil & Gas exploration and Climate change activism. We live our best when we live within our means and in moderation. Both sides need to take a step back and use their heads. We need fresh air, clean water and good soil. We need oil and gas to heat our homes, fuel our vehicles and create the thousands of products we use everyday. We need plastic. Imagine hospitals going back to glass IV jars and syringes . Products we must have for our health and safety are created from oil. But we are resourceful and will find a way to be innovative with new methods and new tools. If not we won’t survive and the planet will continue on without us. Life is constantly evolving. We are merely a blip in time. Get over it and do the best you can.

a-1573504100 Nov 11, 2019 12:28 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

Most of the eco peeps actually do not really care. Even the leading (or soon to be leading) Dem candidate, Mayor Pete, is setting a fine example by flying private jets most of the time....then he and his type tell us what WE should do. Mayor Bogus. Did you MTD today or yesrerday or ever? To those who do, you are the real eco heroes...not the phony lip-service yappers.

PitMix Nov 12, 2019 09:52 AM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

And he wears leather belts. So nothing he has to say could have any validity at all. That is some standard you are applying to everyone. According to you, only people that wholeheartedly support fossil fuels and industrial farming of animals have any right to comment on those issues. They're going to have to rewrite the logic textbooks based on your faith-based arguments.

jqb Nov 11, 2019 01:27 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

There is no such study. Nor are climate science deniers "skeptical" ... they readily believe even the most ridiculous claims and conspiracy theories, as long as they fit their ideological preconceptions. (There really are studies that show that, done by sociologists like Stephan Lewandowsky ...

a-1573505955 Nov 11, 2019 12:59 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

CORALINEJONES - cite please? Also, calling people who are concerned about the climate, "screamers," pretty much destroys your credibility about having an "environmentally friendly lifestyle." If you and the other "skeptics" (I use a different word for someone who puts politics ahead of scientists who have devoted their lives to studying the climate), are really so "friendly," then why the need to trash those who are concerned with the environment?

CoralineJones Nov 11, 2019 12:47 PM
Santa Barbara County Could Be Targeted for New Oil Drilling

A study recently came out that found that people who scream the loudest about climate change are less environmentally conscious than those who are skeptical about climate change and/or if it's manmade - those who were more skeptical were engaging in more environmentally friendly lifestyles and acts (such as: recycling, trying to reduce carbon footprint) than the screamers.

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.

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?

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!

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!

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:

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.

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,”

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


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