At the start of our Christmas season, Exxon Petroleum (aka Aera Energy), dropped a lump of coal into our county’s stocking. It submitted a draft Environmental Impact Report to the County Planning Commission , to dramatically increase oil and gas extraction below the Santa Maria groundwater table.
With hundreds of new wells, the company plans to use superheated steam, forced through our water table, to extract petroleum from deep soil and bring it up through the Santa Maria groundwater table to process at their expanded oil plant.
Exxon has spent millions to convince local media and community organizations of the benefits of their project. They, of course, fail to mention the economic, safety, health, and environmental risks to our community. They pretend that their pipes never leak or spill toxins, exposing them to our water, air, or land. They pretend that they have a spotless regulatory compliance record.
We citizens had all of December and most of January to comment to the County Planning Commission on this dangerous project. Time’s a wasting!
This proposed project is a quantum increase of oil extraction compared to previous lower impact projects in Cat Canyon. Please let your county supervisor know about your concerns for our water, land, and air in the Santa Maria Valley.
To protect our precious natural resources, our county needs to produce more clean and safe energy and produce less oil and gas. The first thing to do, when we find ourselves trapped in a hole of resource and climate degradation, is to stop digging.
As a hazardous material regulator in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties, I have worked with Exxon, Greka, Shell, and other oil companies for 32 years and can attest to these practices and hazards.