Updated Alert: 159 people took action against dirty oil development.
After an impassioned six-hour hearing with 110 public commenters, the Board of Supervisors voted to uphold the appeal that was brought by CEC, the Los Padres Sierra Club, Get Oil Out, and the Santa Barbara County Action Network and represented by the Environmental Defense Center. They decided on a 10,000 metric ton threshold for greenhouse gas emissions. While this is not the zero emission threshold we were asking for, it requires Santa Maria Energy to offset almost 90% of their greenhouse gas emissions, instead of the 29% that the Planning Commission had previously approved.
This decision establishes Santa Barbara as an environmental leader. Mitigation will either occur onsite or by funding environmental offset projects.
On Tuesday, November 12, the County Board of Supervisors will consider our appeal of the Santa Maria Energy Project. CEC
has joined with Los Padres Sierra Club, GOO and SBCAN to have EDC file an appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of the project, as it only required a 29% mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The developers want to use a GHG intensive method called cyclic steaming to heat and extract oil. This is one of the largest GHG producing projects proposed for our region and is precedent setting, with other similar projects waiting in the wings.
Please contact the Board of Supervisors by Monday, November 11 and let them know you oppose this project. In the event that the project is approved, ask them to require Santa Maria Energy to mitigate their GHGs to zero.
Local officials have told us they don’t like getting form letters. Please change the subject and write why this project should be rejected or a personal story of why climate change needs to be addressed.
The letter sent to the Board of Supervisors:
Dear Chair Carbajal and Honorable Supervisors,
The proposed Santa Maria Energy Project will be one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in Santa Barbara County as it uses a process that is significantly more energy and carbon pollution intense than normal oil drilling. Please reject this project.
In the case you are not able to do this, I urge you to require Santa Maria Energy to mitigate all their greenhouse gas emissions through onsite efficiencies and carbon offsets. County staff have estimated this would cost around $1/barrel of oil, which is a tiny amount considering current oil prices of over $100/barrel. Oil companies should pay for the full cost of their pollution rather than being able to pass these costs on to society while they profit.