Environmental groups and Santa Barbara County residents held a rally in Santa Maria Thursday in opposition to an oil proposal.
Aera Energy is proposing 248 new oil wells in Cat Canyon, 10 miles south of Santa Maria.
The company is asking for a permit that would triple oil production.
On Thursday, a public hearing was held on the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the project.
The Sierra Club and other critics say the plan will use dangerous methods to produce oil, including cyclic steam injection, steam flooding, and acidizing.
“I work with young people and farm workers every day, and we’re here to say that we are tired of being a sacrificed zone,” said Abraham Melendriec, CAUSE community organizer.
Aera Energy, however, says it wants to produce energy that California needs, while also protecting the environment. The company says it is the perfect choice for the job.
“I think people, if they read our draft and environmental impact study, they would be surprised that we have taken everything into consideration, to protect people and the environment,” said Rick Rust, Aera Energy Public Affairs Project Manager.
While protesters gathered outside the Thursday’s meeting, a lot of supporters of the project gathered inside.