Setback for Carpinteria Slant-Drilling Operation

Judge Puts Initiative on Hold Pending July Litigation

Venoco’s effort to take plans to build a new onshore slant drilling operation behind Carpinteria City Hall directly to city voters was dealt a procedural set back by Judge Thomas Anderle, who put the proposed initiative on temporary hold pending the outcome of litigation scheduled for July. Carpinteria’s City Attorney, Peter Brown, refused to process the initiative language submitted by Venoco-giving it a title and analysis-arguing that it was vague, misleading, and unconstitutional and had filed court papers to that effect. Venoco is seeking to bypass the traditional review process by placing an initiative on the ballot asking Carpinteria voters their opinion of the project. The oil company claims the project, dubbed Paredon, could generate as much as $200 million over the life of the project. Opponents have disputed that and other claims made by Venoco and deride the initiative as an attempt to evade normal environmental safeguards. The basic constitutionality of the initiative will be decided after the July 28 court date.

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