Jan 13, 2011 9:42 PM by Ariel Wesler

Rancher blames local oil company for polluting his property

A rancher in Los Alamos is fed up with a local oil company he says is causing major damage to his property.
Robert Fulton owns the Fulton Ranch Company in los alamos.
B.E. Conway Energy has the rights to drill for oil on the land, but he says the company isn't doing its part to clean up the mess drilling leaves behind.

Robert Fulton's frustration is growing rapidly. He has owned a 1,000 acre cattle ranch in Los Alamos for thirty years.

B.E. Conway Energy owns the rights to drill on the property through the Magenheimer lease. Now, he says their oil is polluting his water.

"My cattle drink it and the wildlife drinks it," Fulton said.

Then, there's another problem. The smell is horrendous.

"It's the big nasty man. It goes on all the time here. I'm not a scientist, but I know it's not safe. I know it's not lawful," Fulton said.

So, we contacted the Air Pollution Control District. It has received nine complaints. Four were valid and were a result of gas leaking from the rigs. B.E. Conway fixed three. Greka was responsible for one.

B.E. Conway Energy would not speak to us on camera, but issued this statement:

"As recently as January 6, 2011, the Magenheimer lease was inspected and found in compliance by representatives from both the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources and the Santa Barbara County Petroleum Department.

Fulton says for three years, he's tried everything to get help from the county and the state, but the mess remains.

"I have made up packets. I have made up folders. I have made literally hundreds of calls," Fulton said. "Nothing has been accomplished."

Fulton says he wants to see the county and state do a better job of regulating the oil companies. As of January 6th, State and county inspectors say the company is in compliance. In part because of this story, state inspectors say they'll be looking into this matter further.


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