Nick Welsh hit it out of the park in his January 25, 2019, oil reverberation cover story about Aera Energy’s good ole Rick Rust and his problem with selling more oil pollution to Santa Barbara County. This especially on the anniversary of the horrific 1969 spill! What a great history review and description of the irreparable hazards that Aera poses in its extreme oil extraction proposal for Cat Canyon.

The many, new, bigger, high pressure, and super-steaming wells proposed will punch through the Santa Maria groundwater basin and the city’s only drinking water source. As Unocal promised before the 1969 catastrophe, Aera (aka Exxon/Shell) promises multiple safeguards for these new mega-wells. They’ll never leak into our water supply — right? And if a well does blow and they do poison our drinking water aquifer for the next 30 years, why they’ll be right there to clean it all up while delivering Perrier to every house downstream.

In the story, Welsh tended to gloss over some issues such as specific risks to drinking water aquifers, plundering of our meager water supply in times of drought, local air pollution, hazardous release risks to neighboring populations of residents, farm workers, and student, destruction of wildlife habitat, not to mention new seismic risks. Well, a print article can only be so long, so great job, Nick!


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