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Santa Barbara climate groups protest oil well proposals

Posted at 6:08 PM, Mar 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-22 21:19:49-04
Oil rally<figcaption class="wp-caption-text" id="caption-attachment-87355">Climate action groups in Santa Barbara are asking the planning commission to oppose 233 proposed oil wells in Cat Canyon.


Environmental groups in Santa Barbara are sending a message to the county’s planning commission over proposed oil well projects in the area.

Over two dozen groups, along with the county’s Democratic party, are calling for the commission to oppose 233 new wells proposed by the Italian-based ERG West energy company as part of the company’s Cat Canyon Revitalization Plan Project.

ERG West hopes to build new thermally enhanced, steam injection oil wells through the Santa Maria groundwater basin. A hearing is being held at the Betteravia Government Center in Santa Maria this Wednesday, March 13.

Other energy companies including Aera Energy and PetroRock are also requesting permits to drill.  Altogether, the proposals would add 760 wells in Cat Canyon.

But groups like the local Sierra Club say the proposed wells are dangerous and pose a risk to the community’s drinking water, community health and tourist economy.

“ERG is in bankruptcy and has spilled 39,000 gallons of oil and wastewater since 2010,” said Katie Davis, Chair of the Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter. “Their proposal would pollute our air, clog the 101 and county roads with 156 explosive oil tanker trucks every day, and make climate change worse.”

The Santa Barbara County Democratic Party also sent a letter asking the planning commission to deny the proposed projects.

The groups are holding a rally outside the hearing to oppose the wells at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.

For more info on the rally, contact Jonathan Ullman with the Sierra Club at