Stop 750+ New Oil Wells:
Two oil companies are proposing to collectively drill over 500 new oil wells in Santa Barbara County. For the sake of our drinking water, public health, and climate we cannot allow these to be built. We can stop them – but only with your help.
The wells will be in Cat Canyon, southeast of Santa Maria. They’ll sit on top of aquifers the Sisquoc and Los Alamos communities depend upon, and utilize a water and energy intensive extraction method, known as “cyclic steam injection.” These companies are only interested in the money and care little for the impacts more extraction will have on our local resources and communities.
While we wait for the oil companies to reconvene:
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Climate change – To avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change, we need to cut emissions, and fast. We already have so much existing fossil fuel infrastructure – power plants, oil wells, pipelines – that in order to stay on track, no new infrastructure can be built and no new reserves can be developed – including the 750+ new wells. You can learn more about the threat of these wells to our climate here.
Water – These projects would drill through the Santa Maria Valley Groundwater Basin, which provides drinking water to more than 12 cities, including Santa Maria, Orcutt, and Guadalupe, thousands of businesses, our local wine industry, and hundreds of square miles of agriculture. We know that over their lifetime, many wells break, the consequences of which would be staggering, threatening the drinking water of over 200,000 people. One of the companies’ own draft Environmental Impact report suggests that the risk these wells pose to water resources are significant and may not be mitigated.
Public health – These projects will increase exposure to pollutants including fine particulate matter which can impair breathing and cause serious long term damage to respiratory health. Toxins and pollutants associated with these projects are known to increase risk of cancer, respiratory disease, and negatively impact reproductive health. The Environmental Impact Report suggests airborne pollutants associated with the projects could violate the county’s air quality standards. The suggested mitigation strategy is inadequate because it does nothing to reduce local emissions of pollutants in the county.
Trucking – The oil these companies would extract is particularly thick and tar-like. In fact, it is so thick that some of the projects plan to truck lighter crude from Bakersfield to mix in with the thicker, heavier oil at the extraction site to be able to pump it back to Bakersfield to be refined. This will increase the number of trucks on the road carrying volatile oil as well as increasing emissions.
Pipelines – The project includes plans to build a new gas pipeline that would threaten an existing oak woodland ecosystem. This plan will result in the removal of 1,500 trees and inevitable degradation of approximately 29 acres of natural woodland (EIR Executive summary page 10). Moreover, any leak in the pipeline can cause irreparable damage to the ground water, the region, and local ecosystems.