As representatives of working women and men in Santa Barbara County, Local 114 has been closely following Aera Energy’s proposal to re-establish its existing oil field in East Cat Canyon. Based on our extensive evaluation of the project’s environmental, safety, and economic aspects, we strongly support it.

Aera has been consistently transparent about the details of its project, and very responsive to local input. So much so, in fact, that after hearing community concerns the company went back to the drawing board and worked out a way to eliminate more than 100 wells — over a third of the number originally anticipated. In addition, Aera confirmed its proposal to create a 500-acre Conservation Area on a portion of its site that will not be used for oil production. The company is working with community groups to ensure the safe use of this 500 acres for wildlife and woodland habitat preservation, trails, and open space.

Finally, the writer of “When Dirty Oil Is Clean” just got her facts wrong overstating the greenhouse gas emissions from the project by more than six times. The letter also failed to mention Aera’s project must comply to state and local climate change laws that are the strictest in the world.

It’s hypocritical that a reader chose to criticize Aera for actually listening to public input and taking it to heart. In our view, Aera should be congratulated — not criticized — for its responsible approach to energy production in Santa Barbara County.


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