Saturday, July 21 , 2018, 7:19 am | Overcast 64º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Environmental Defense Center Files Lawsuit Against Orcutt-based Energy Company

The Environmental Defense Center has filed a lawsuit in federal court against Pacific Coast Energy Company, alleging violations of the Clean Water Act.

The lawsuit alleges that PCEC has been illegally discharging polluted storm water.

The suit claims that the Orcutt-based company is discharging total suspended solids, oil and grease and potentally other pollutants.

“PCEC’s polluted runoff is especially concerning given the facility’s egregious history of oil spills, which includes over 100 documented spills at the Orcutt Hill operation,” said Alicia Roessler, EDC staff attorney, in a news release. "According to its own data, the facility has been discharging polluted storm water into our creeks and rivers for the past several years."

Pacific Coast Energy Company did not immediately respond to Noozhawk calls and emails.

The company conducts oil exploration and development activities using enhanced oil extraction techniques such as cyclic steam injection at its 5,400 acre Orcutt Hill oil field operation, according to the EDC.

The pollutants flow into Orcutt and San Antonio Creeks, which drain into the Santa Maria River and the Pacific Ocean, the EDC states.   

Those waters provide habitat for threatened and endangered species, such as the unarmored threespined stickleback, the tidewater goby, the red-legged frog and steelhead trout, "and are used for public recreation and enjoyment," the news release states.

The lawsuit comes after the EDC's notice letter on April 16. EDC says that it and the PCEC have been unable to resolve the dispute since the notice letter was filed. 

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in 2016 denied the company's request to more than double the number of wells it operates, to 192 from from 96. 
     
  Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >