The Carpinteria City Council and the public got a look this week at the city’s new 162-page staff report on the impacts of a Venoco Inc. drilling project that could end up on a future ballot.

Signatures were gathered earlier this year to place a slant-drilling operation on the ballot as a citizens initiative. The oil company argues that its proposed Paredon oil-drilling project would be a boon to city coffers as well as state revenues.

It also says it wants Carpinteria residents to decide the fate of the project. City officials appealed that decision earlier this year, citing concerns that the company could be trying to circumvent the environmental review required for a project of that magnitude.

At its Dec. 14 meeting, the council will have two options: adopt the project, voiding the need for an election, or schedule an election to let Carpinteria residents decide.

The report was required by law, and addition to benefiting the council, it serves to get information about the project out to the public.

The council directed staff last month to prepare the report to look at environmental effects since the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, doesn’t apply to initiatives.

The council authorized City Attorney Peter Brown to appeal the initiative’s ballot placement. But Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderle denied a request from the city to keep the item off the ballot in August.

The initiative is still under appeal, but the initiative process is continuing, and it’s unknown when an appeals court will take up the case.

Click here for more information about the Venoco project.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at

Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper

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