Sunday, June 16, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Letter To The Editor

The following article was posted on April 9th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 6 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 6

Oil and quakes don't mix

By Irv Beiman - Santa Ynez

Increased seismic activity is only one of many inevitable potential dangers from the expansion of oil drilling in the Santa Maria Valley.

ERG, Aera, and PetroRock all intend to use cyclic steam injection to pull the heavy, thick crude from the ground, which requires the re-injection of wastewater. Wastewater injections are considered to be responsible for an increase in earthquakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Santa Barbara County has an estimated 100 to 200 of these wastewater injection sites.

According to a report published through the Santa Barbara County Action Network, from 2000 to 2012, the Santa Maria area averaged fewer than two earthquakes a year. Yet in 2013 alone, the report states, there were 58 quakes recorded in that same area. This major increase correlates with close proximity to wastewater-injected areas. Quake distribution is particularly dense in oil-active Cat Canyon, Orcutt, Casmalia, and south Santa Maria.

In its environmental report, ERG Resources itself refers to the geological hazards that can trigger landslides and seismic activity during construction and drilling. Such activity can also trigger accelerated soil erosion and cause damage to project structures, resulting in injury and death of oil workers, who will be on the front lines of these projects.

ERG tempts us to say yes to their project by boasting of the number of jobs they will create; but it is those very workers and the community who will suffer–not the CEO of ERG.

There is no mitigation for these hazards.

Weekly Poll
Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

| Poll Results