Cuyama Testing Application Withdrawn

Plan for Dynamite Blasting to Search for Oil Was Facing Appeal by Environmentalists

The plan to use dynamite in the search for oil over 23 square miles of the Cuyama Valley was pulled this week, soon after a number of environmental groups appealed the County of Santa Barbara’s approval of the application. The “Cuyama 3D Geophysical Data Acquisition Project,” which was proposed by E&B Natural Resources out of Bakersfield, would have involved dropping 11-pound sticks of dynamite in nearly 3,500 holes and then monitoring the explosions with teams of helicopters, trucks, and ATVs.

But faced with a yet-to-be-scheduled public hearing before the County Planning Commission, E&B pulled the application on Monday morning; a call to the company on Tuesday afternoon to inquire about future plans went unreturned as of press deadline.

“We’re pleased that the Cuyama Valley will be protected from runaway oil development,” said Los Padres ForestWatch’s Jeff Kuyper, who was alerted by Cuyama residents to the county’s staff-level approval that didn’t require any public noticing. “This massive scheme would have wreaked havoc on the area’s wildlife, clean water, and rural agriculture.”

Though explaining that he too was “pleased,” Brian Segee of the Environmental Defense Center added that “many questions remain” related to both E&B’s intentions as well as oil development throughout the North County. “More transparency is needed,” said Segee, “and we urge the county to conduct environmental analysis with public notice and opportunity to comment prior to future oil proposals.”

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