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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Thursday, February 23, 2017

Heal the Ocean Mounts SOS Operation for Summerland Beach

Today, Heal the Ocean put out an urgent call to Santa Barbara for letters to be sent in support of funds needed by the State Lands Commission to finally cap the infamous Becker Well on Summerland Beach, which is leaking and rendering the beach unusable.

LETTERS, LETTERS! WE NEED YOUR LETTERS!” says Heal the Ocean. Here is a real and tangible way to help clean up our ocean and our beaches. The State Lands Commission is going to bat for us on Monday, February 27, to make sure we have the $700,000 needed for capping the leaking Becker Well. By FRIDAY, February 24, please send two separate letters as follows:

FIRST LETTER:
Senate Budget Subcommittee #2:
Attn: Joe Stephenshaw
State Capitol Building, Room 5019
Sacramento, CA 95814 Fax: (916) 668-7004.

Body of Letter:
Re: Support for Funding to Properly Abandon Becker Well

Dear Chair Wieckowski and Members of the Committee:

I am writing this letter in support of preserving the $700,000 currently in the State budget to properly abandon the Becker Oil Well on Summerland Beach. (Add a few words of what it means to have an oil free beach!) and e-mail to: Joe.stephenshaw@sen.ca.gov

SECOND LETTER:
Assembly Budget Subcommittee #3:
Attn: Susan Chan,
Staff State Capitol Building, Room 437
Sacramento, CA 95814

Body of Letter:
Re: Support for 2017 Funding to Properly Abandon Becker Well:

Dear Chair Richard Bloom and Members of the Committee:

I am writing this letter in support of preserving the $700,000 currently in the state budget to properly abandon the Becker Oil Well on Summerland Beach. (Add a few words of what it means to have an oil free beach!) and e-mail to susan.chan@asm.ca.gov.

These two letters must be sent by tomorrow, Friday, February 24! says Heal the Ocean.

SB44 (Jackson)
Heal the Ocean also asks the public to write a support letter for SB44 (Jackson) which would bring in $2 million per year to cap leaking wells like Becker. The first stop for this bill is the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, and the deadline for support of this bill in this Committee is Friday, March 3 - a week from now Heal the Ocean states.

Instructions for the SB44 letter:

Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water
State Capitol, Room 5046
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: (916) 323-2232

Body of Letter:
Re: Support for California Senate Bill 44 (Jackson) – Coastal Oil Well Cleanup and Remediation Act, March 14th, 2017 Hearing

Dear Chair Hertzberg and Members of the Committee:

I am writing to express my support of California Senate Bill 44 (Jackson). SB 44, the Coastal Oil Well Cleanup and Remediation Act, will create a program vital to the cleanup of California’s legacy oil wells. An unknown number of these wells were improperly capped when originally abandoned, and may continue to leak oil that harms the health of ocean and onshore ecosystems, as well as the health of beachgoers and homeowners.

(If you don’t have a FAX, please e-mail to AlexBennett@healtheocean.org, and we’ll FAX it for you!)

HTO BEGINS AERIAL SURVEY OF SUMMERLAND OIL FIELD

Meanwhile on Friday March 3, 2017, Heal the Ocean is launching an aerial survey of the Summerland oil field under the auspices of the California State Lands Commission, which is designing and overseeing the survey, to be conducted by AQUEOS, an internationally known offshore contractor based in Ventura and Louisiana. The survey is expected to take three months, depending on weather.

The objective of the aerial survey is to identify hydrocarbon release areas throughout the Summerland offshore area, and to then map and prioritize these sites for subsequent underwater investigation for capping and/or cleanup. This air and dive survey is being conducted in tandem lobbying efforts Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson’s SB44 bill.

SB44 would bring in $2 million per year for the cleanup of abandoned (“legacy”) oil wells along the California coast, and provide funding for any necessary capping or cleanup sites identified, says Hillary Hauser, Executive Director of Heal the Ocean, “…and we want the State Lands Commission to have a plan in place, to know where to use that money, when it comes in.”

The Summerland Oil field accounts for 190 of 198 of California’s legacy oil wells.

Hauser commends Nora McNeely Hurley’s family foundation, The Manitou Fund, Minnesota, for the funding to launch the air/dive survey. Mrs. Hurley lives in Summerland with her husband, Michael, and has been actively working non-stop to call attention to the oil-polluted beach at Summerland.

Steve Curran, chief petroleum drilling engineer for State Lands, who is overseeing the AQUEOS operation, has confirmed that the proper abandonment of the Becker Onshore oil well in Summerland is currently in the planning (CEQA) stages, and that the Becker project will provide important data for future well-capping operations.

Contact

For more information:
Alex Bennett or Hillary Hauser, Heal the Ocean (805) 965-7570
Steve Curran, State Lands Commission (562) 590-5266
Dan Holmes, AQUEOS Corporation (805) 256-4833

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