OIL AND WATER:

The first steps in what’s sure to be a long and contentious
process to expand oil and gas drilling near Vandenberg Air Force
Base were taken this week at a public comment meeting in Lompoc.
The Plains Exploration and Production Company proposes to expand
slant drilling from Platform Irene in the federal waters off the
Santa Barbara Channel to the Tranquillon Ridge in state waters just
off Vandenberg; the plan has received a preliminary environmental
assessment from the county and is set to undergo full Environmental
Impact Review later this spring. According to state numbers, the
Tranquillon Ridge reserve has approximately 200 million barrels of
crude oil and as many as 50 billion cubic feet of natural gas. A
separate proposal from Sunset Explorations Inc. to slant drill into
the ridge from inside the air force base will likely be submitted
to the county by April.

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