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Critics of proposed oil wells in Santa Maria want next meeting moved

Posted at 6:10 PM, Apr 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-09 21:18:49-04

Local environmental and community leaders are asking the County of Santa Barbara to move back an upcoming planning commission meeting on a proposal that would add new oil wells outside Santa Maria.

Oil and gas company ERG Resources currently operates nearly 200 oil wells at the West Cat Canyon Oil Field and is hoping to quadruple its oil production by adding new wells. The proposed project would also include a new 3.5-mile oil pipeline.

The last few meetings have been during the day, but advocates say the decision is “too important to exclude working families.”

Critics of the proposal say the project could put farmworkers at risk and contaminate the Santa Maria Groundwater Basin.

Two people spoke Tuesday morning during public comment at the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors’ meeting requesting the next meeting be moved to the evening so farmworkers can attend without having to take a day off work.

The board did not provide feedback on the request at that time.

ERG’s oil drilling and production plan is scheduled to be back in front of commissioners May 29.