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Santa Maria Sun / Letter To The Editor

The following article was posted on September 3rd, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 27

More information is needed about ERG's postponed project

By Rachel Altman, Santa Barbara

The third postponement of ERG’s Planning Commission hearing on the West Cat Canyon Oil Project (“West Cat Canyon oil project decision delayed indefinitely,” Aug. 22) takes place in a larger context that needs clarification.

ERG is one of three oil companies to declare bankruptcy in our county in the last five years. Oil prices and demand are falling, and clean energy jobs now outnumber jobs in the fossil fuel industry 5 to 1, according to a recent study.

ERG’s project has faced opposition from local residents, who turned out at three Santa Barbara County Planning Commission meetings in droves to express concerns about the proposed use of cyclic steam injection, a high-risk, high-energy intensive method of extracting oil that is too heavy and sticky to pump otherwise.

There is evidence that the recent 1.3 million gallon Chevron oil spill near Bakersfield was caused by cyclic steam injection that took place close to the site of the spill, demonstrating the risks of this technique. California’s acting oil and gas supervisor, Jason Marshall, said it “looks to me” like steam contributed to the problem, according to the Bakersfield News.

Meanwhile, ERG was purchased by Terracore Operating Company LLC, who is quoted in the article as stating that they are investigating the use of solar panels to offset the 251,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions the project would produce. However, it would require 1,000 acres of solar panels just to power the steam injection engines—an unlikely and unrealistic scenario.

An added note: Coloradan Will McConathy, who might be “the youngest member of the Koch network,” according to a 2016 article in The Hill, is the president of Terracore. Do we want to gamble our environment on corporations who have demonstrated total disregard for its protection?

Rachel Altman
Santa Barbara




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