The Southern California Gas Company’s hope to expand its natural gas storage facility under the bluffs above the eastern stretch of Goleta Beach meets its latest hurdle next week, as the California Coastal Commission considers an appeal of the project, which was approved by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors last year. (The commission itself also approved it already.)
The appeal is being brought by Goleta Against Drilling, whose spokeswoman Madlyn Monchamp — a resident of the mobile home park at the end of Ward Drive, like many of those concerned — believes that the project will “harm environmentally sensitive habitat areas and agricultural lands and will endanger our health and the health of our children.” Monchamp hopes the appeal will lead to more impacts being disclosed and more mitigation for such impacts.
Officials with SoCalGas, which has run the facility since 1941, have repeatedly assured that the project is safe and say that the only significant impact is the tall drilling rig, which will be visible from certain areas for about three months. Said spokeswoman Denise King, “We are sensitive to the interests of our neighbors and have listened to stakeholders in this process. We are taking necessary steps to maximize the benefits and lessen any effects to our environment and community.”
The item is scheduled for February 12, at 9 a.m., in Pismo Beach, where the Coastal Commission meets next week.