Lands Commission Approves Becker Well Environmental Impact Statement

Big surf last February exposed the Becker Well (pictured) and a handful of previously undocumented offenders off Summerland Beach.

More momentum to properly cap Summerland’s long-abandoned Becker Well — which has been leaking oil into the surfline for years — received a unanimous thumbs-up last month as the California State Lands Commission certified the project’s environmental impact report.

“The [commission] has taken yet another major step in cleaning up the irresponsible legacy of historic oil and gas drilling in California, which continues to impact coastal communities today,” said Lt. Governor Newsom, chair of the State Lands Commission. He added, “Once again, California’s sustainable values move in contrast to the federal government’s destructive values. As President Trump tries to reverse the nation on a backwards path toward more coastal offshore drilling and fewer environmental safeguards, our action . . . ensures that California continues to stride forward to benefit future generations.”

Summerland is home to the first offshore oil development in the nation, with dozens of wells dating to the late 1800s. When Becker was abandoned about 100 years ago, plugging it “involved rudimentary procedures that do not meet current health, safety, and environmental protection requirements,” according to the commission. In adopting the state budget in June, Governor Jerry Brown signed over $700,000 toward the Becker capping project, which is estimated to cost $1.4 million total. Weather permitting, the work may start this winter as extra-low tides expose the wellhead


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