Stop 750+ New Oil Wells in Santa Barbara County

Currently, three companies – ERG, AERA, and Petro Rock – are collectively proposing to drill over 750 new oil wells in Northern Santa Barbara County. These wells would drill through the Santa Maria Valley Groundwater Basin which provides drinking water to over 200,000 people. We’re working with our coalition partners – including Food and Water Watch, Santa Barbara Standing Rock Coalition, Safe Energy Now, and Sierra Club – to ensure these projects are stopped before they can further wreck our climate and water.


These next few months are a crucial time to get to work: (See the next section for an overview of the timeline of these projects).

ERG: The Texas-based ERG Operating Company is also proposing to drill more than 230 new steam injection wells over the Santa Maria groundwater basin near the communities of Garey and Sisquoc. The project would build 10 new drilling pads, expand 91 current pads, and require nine processing facilities and equipment areas. ERG is in currently in bankruptcy and trying to sell off its California operations, including the proposed Cat Canyon project. The outcome of this reorganization would impact whether ERG or another company follows through on the current drilling proposal. For more information, visit the County’s Planning and Development Page:

Public Review Period: June 4 – August 3rd

AERA: AERA (owned by Shell and ExxonMobil) is proposing to drill 296 new oil wells in Cat Canyon, a pristine area in the northern part of Santa Barbara County. The company would use the energy-intensive practices of cyclic steam injection — also known as “steam fracking”— to extract up to 10,000 barrels of oil per day. The oil wells would pierce the aquifer in the Santa Maria groundwater basin that provides 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. For more information, visit the County’s Planning and Development Page:


PetroRock: PetroRock, the third company, is proposing to drill 230 new cyclic steam injection wells in Cat Canyon. For more information, visit the County’s Planning and Development Page:


We’d love for you to join us:

1 – If you haven’t yet, please be sure to fill out this petition against the new oil wells and in support of an ordinance against any new oil drilling in this county. Then, share it with your networks!

2- Volunteer with us! Click here to sign up.


Project Timeline and Approval Process:

The County’s Board of Supervisors holds the final vote for any new development of oil and gas infrastructure in the county. The Board – comprised of 5 members, representing the 5 districts in the county – requires a simple majority to pass a project (at least 3 in favor).

To be approved, each company submits a project proposal to the County, and then submits an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to the County’s Planning and Development Energy Division for public review. Once the EIR is submitted, the clock starts ticking. It begins a 45-day period of public review and comment, during which public hearings may be held, and the public is encouraged to contact their supervisor and the Energy Division’s office with their input. After this 45 day period, the supervisors vote. Therefore, we will only find out the dates of votes once the EIRs are submitted.


Key Dates:

ERG Draft EIR public hearing: Tuesday, July 17th, 3:00PM @ County Planning Commission Hearing Room, 123 East Anapamu St, Santa Barbara

Join us to participate in public comment in preparation for vote. 


To learn more, visit some of our partner organization’s webpages:

Safe Energy Now – 

Sierra Club –