Appeals from three conservation groups and the California
attorney general to stop plans for oil drilling expansion in Los
Padres National Forest were denied this week. The U.S. Forest
Service announced on Monday that it was rejecting all appeals of
its July 2005 decision to open more than 52,000 acres of the forest
to expanded oil and gas drilling. The plan allows for new surface
drilling with associated roads on 4,000 acres, while designating
the remaining 4,800 acres for slant drilling activity. Responding
to appellants’ charges that the agency did not properly investigate
the possible environmental impacts of the proposal, the Forest
Service promised to fully examine these concerns if and when actual
drilling leases are issued. Currently, there are 240 active wells
in Los Padres.


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