The Carpinteria City Council voted to 4-1 to appeal Venoco’s plans to take its proposal to build a new slant drilling platform behind City Hall directly to a vote of the people.
Efforts by Carpinteria City Attorney Peter Brown to challenge the legality of Venoco’s initiative on constitutional grounds were rebuffed by Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderle two weeks ago. A majority of the council voted to support the appeal because to do so is necessary to maintain the city’s standing for any subsequent legal challenges the city might file. Many also contend the initiative is an end-run around the city’s environmental review process. As a practical matter, the appeal will not slow down Venoco at all. Brown will have to provide a title for the initiative, allowing Venoco to begin circulating petitions.
Councilmember Joe Armendariz cast the sole vote against the appeal, arguing that it amounted to throwing good money after bad. Thus far, Carpinteria has spent $180,000 in legal fees fighting Venoco’s initiative.