Efforts to protect Summerland Beach from aging, seeping oil wells made headway in a State Assembly budget subcommittee on Wednesday. Facing approval by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown within coming months, a tentative $900,000 was set aside to remove 200 abandoned wells over two years.
Summerland Beach has faced closures for high levels of oil contamination from its seeping Becker Well. “We all deserve a setting that is free from oil and environmental harm,” said Assemblymember Das Williams in a press release. “This is one of more than 200 wells that could be leaking off the Central Coast and harming our beaches and ocean life,” said Jackson of the Becker Well, “and we need to take action on all of them.”
The panel also voted to fund 17 pipeline-inspector positions within the Office of the State Fire Marshal as part of a legislative proposal closely related to State Senator Jackson’s SB 295 (requiring more frequent safety inspections) and Williams’ AB 864 (implementing automatic shutoff valves).
Currently making its way through the Legislature, Senator Jackson and Williams’ SB 900 would create a monitor and cap program targeting 200 ailing, leaky wells at Summerland and Ellwood beaches, as well as others along the Central Coast.