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EPA Slams Greka Again

The Environmental Protection Agency ordered the oil company to clean up its most recent spill or face charges of $32,500 per day.

San Francisco – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered Greka Oil and Gas, Inc., to comply with the Federal Water Pollution Control Act at their Bell Tank Facility, or face fines of up to $32,500 per day.

This action is the second in three days against the oil company, which was ordered Tuesday to remove all oil and hazardous substances released from a retention basin at their Bell Lease at 6800 Palmer Road. The order issued Thursday deals with the spill on Tuesday, Jan. 29, where oil and water escaped from a corroded pipe and drained into Sisquoc Creek, which runs to the ocean.

"Greka is one of the most egregious environmental violators I’ve seen in a long time,” said Rob Wise, Federal On-scene Coordinator for the Superfund Division in the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region.

Greka has been ordered to clean up and contain all the petroleum and petroleum-contaminated material, and prevent further spills into the environment.


Santa Barbara CHP Awarded $658,000 grant

Santa Barbara - The California Office of Traffic Safety recently awarded the Santa Barbara area California Highway Patrol $658,000 for its participation in “Stop DUI II,” an education and enforcement program aimed at reducing alcohol-related accidents.

The grant, according to the CHP press release, has an element specific to the Santa Barbara County wineries. Part of the money will go toward funding two sobriety/driver’s license checkpoints and roving enforcement patrols in Santa Barbara County. Funds will also go toward an education and enforcement campaign targeting people visiting wineries or attending wine-related events.

There are currently over 90 wineries with tasting rooms in Santa Barbara County. A recent investigation has shown that a significant number of DUI arrests and accidents involve people who had been at wine tasting rooms.

The program involves CHP offices in Santa Barbara, Buellton and Santa Maria in partnership with the County Vintner’s Association. It will run to the end of 2008.


Caltrans Announces 101 Lane Closure

Santa Maria - The fast lane of Hwy 101 will be closed from Stowell Road to Main Street (Hwy. 166) next Wednesday for paving. The closure will take place Feb. 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

According to Caltrans, motorists should expect a 15-20 minute delay.

The project is part of the $30 million Santa Maria 6-lane widening project, expected to be completed by the end of the year.

For updates, call 805.549.3318 or 888. SB ROADS, or visit the Caltrans website

Local Business Owner Re-Elected to ISA Board

Santa Barbara - Local business owner Fred Barbaria, president of Santa Barbara Signs & Graphics, was re-elected to the board of directors of the International Sign Association for the 2008 – 2009 term. Barbaria will serve as the Digital Division Chairman for the association, which consists of over 2,300 member companies.


Barbaria, who co-founded Santa Barbara Signs & Graphics in 1997, was also appointed to ISA’s Education, Marketing, Trade Show and Technical committees. He will chair the Digital Division membership meeting and moderate digital printing seminars for the Sign Biz Network at the ISA Expo in Orlando, FL this March.

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