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Local News

Supervisors Agree to Consider Proposed Changes to County’s Petroleum Ordinance

In its first meeting of the new year, the board also welcomes its newest member, First District representative Steve Lavagnino

Santa Barbara County’s new Fifth District representative, Steve Lavagnino, took his seat at the Board of Supervisors’ first meeting of the year Tuesday, during which the supervisors divided up board and commission duties.

Lavagnino, a deputy chief of staff for Rep. Elton Gallegly, took over many of longtime Santa Maria representative Joe Centeno’s appointments.

County Parks staff said that December’s record rainfall in the North County means Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Park will be closed indefinitely because of sand erosion.

Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado declared a state of emergency for Santa Barbara County last month, which the supervisors said they hope could lead to state or federal assistance. New county CEO Chandra Waller said a meeting has been scheduled to discuss that later this week.

“This is really bad news for Guadalupe and Santa Maria,” board chairwoman Joni Gray said.

The board also scheduled a hearing to consider amending the county’s petroleum code and lowering the requirements used to consider oil operators as “high risk.”

Under the current ordinance, which went into effect in January 2009, operators are considered high risk if they’re in violation for more than 30 consecutive days or 45 days within the preceding year, or if they’ve had three unauthorized releases of more than 25 barrels (1,050 gallons) each.

The proposed changes would reduce the amount to 15 barrels and require the high-risk operator to get a third party audit of its facility.

No specific companies are mentioned in the ordinance as cause for the amendments.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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