Congratulations are due to County Supervisors Salud Carbajal, Janet Wolf, and Doreen Farr for their courageous yet common sense vote on the Santa Maria Energy Project. The 136-well project using steam injection to extract oil would have belched 88,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions annually (MTCO2e/yr). The recommendation was to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 29 percent. Instead, facing an overflow crowd in Santa Maria, Carbajal, Wolf, and Farr approved the project with a more rigorous emission standard to protect public health and the environment.
The next steps are to establish the 10,000 MTCO2e/yr threshold for all projects as other coastal air districts have already done and to adopt a program to certify local GHG reduction projects to create locally generated and locally available offsets or credits. This latter step will guarantee that the benefits of offset projects stay in our community.