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Wednesday, March 20 , 2019, 11:31 am | Fair 59º


Letter to the Editor: Supervisors Made Right Call on PCEC Oil Project in Orcutt

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors made the right decision on Nov 1 in rejecting the expansion of the PCEC oil project in Orcutt. PCEC was #1 in the county in terms of oil spills last year, and their history of oil seeps, explosive well casing failures and state-mandated shutdowns is egregious. The project was judged to have significant impacts and risks to our creeks and watershed.

The County Assessor couldn’t indicate what, if any, property tax value to associate with this particular project, and PCEC has a history of contesting all their property tax bills anyway, costing the county hundreds of thousands just to pursue. Property tax from all oil projects in the county make up just 1% of the county budget, and this project represents only a tiny fraction of that.

The bigger risk is environmental damage since the cost of a major spill or long-term environmental harm would likely fall to taxpayers given PCEC’s limited resources. The Refugio spill cost will be well over $200 million. Imagine if we had to pay for that!

I applaud Supervisors Salud Carbajal, Janet Wolf and Doreen Farr for their courage to follow the facts and stand up to one of the worst polluters in the County.

In my opinion, pollution of our underground water aquifers as a result of extreme methods for oil extraction is our greatest strategic threat in SB County.


Irv Beiman Ph.D.
Santa Ynez

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