As Aera’s East Cat Canyon oilfield redevelopment project moves forward, it’s only natural that Santa Barbara County residents will have questions. It’s also not surprising that there will be misconceptions.

For example, in a recent letter to the editor, a reader raised concerns about the production process and questioned the number of jobs connected to the project. We’re more than happy to address those issues.

With respect to potential impacts on groundwater from the steam-injection process that will be used to remove the oil, California regulations and industry best practices are specifically designed to protect groundwater, and safety systems to protect surface and groundwater quality will be required as a condition of project approval. There will also be regular ongoing tests, monitoring, and inspections to ensure well integrity throughout the life of the well.

Regarding jobs, a study by the University of Santa Barbara Economic Forecast Project estimated that the project will create hundreds of well-paying jobs, with good benefits, for local workers,

Although the reader didn’t mention it, that same study also projected that the development of the East Cat Canyon oilfield will generate more than $250 million in local, state, and federal taxes that will include support for Santa Barbara County schools, public safety, and other vital services.

Altogether Aera’s project is estimated to create more than $1 billion in total economic activity. We’re proud to be part of the Santa Barbara community, providing local jobs and revenues while safely producing the energy California needs.

Rick Rust is the Santa Barbara representative for Aera Energy.


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