After meeting 18 safety- and health-related requirements and receiving a temporary operating permit from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department on 4/7, Greka Energy resumed oil processing at its Bell Lease site, some four months after being shut down following an approximately 75,000-gallon oil spill. County officials said permission was withheld until the Environmental Protection Agency had agreed to the idea, as EPA is overseeing the clean-up efforts at the lease.
State Assemblymember Pedro Nava last week sought support for two pieces of legislation aimed at helping both state and local law enforcement agencies battle repeat polluters. Joined by members of the County District Attorney’s office, the Environmental Protection Agency, and others at the County Courthouse on 4/4, Nava has been working on the enforcement issue as a direct result of the more than 500,000 gallons the company has spilled since 2003.
Santa Barbara philanthropist Peter Sperling and his billionaire father, John Sperling, are bankrolling an initiative that would require California utilities to generate half their power from alternative energy sources by 2025. However, much of the state’s solar lobby claim the initiative contains dangerous loopholes and would restrict environmental scrutiny of controversial projects. State law currently mandates that California utilities must obtain 20 percent of their energy from alternate sources by 2010, and 33 percent by the year 2020.
A Thousand Oaks teen has invented a potential antidote to the very quagga mussel woes that Santa Barbara County is going to great lengths to prevent at Lake Cachuma: an herbal goo that reportedly kills mosquito larvae could be effective against quagga larvae. Brenna Callero, 14, is testing her invention with the Department of Fish & Game at quagga-infected bodies of water to the south.