Sunday, June 7, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 14

Santa Maria Sun / Letter To The Editor

The following article was posted on May 20th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 12 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 21, Issue 12

CalGEM rules offer critical buffers in Cat Canyon

By Seth Steiner, Los Alamos

CalGEM is embarked on an effort to write new rules. These will impact the health and well-being of all who live, work, play, and attend school in Cat Canyon.

The creation of a 2,500-foot buffer zone separating oil drilling and infrastructure from homes and schools is crucial. In Cat Canyon one school’s water well is dangerously near oil wells that inject toxic wastewater underground. A nearby landowner found that his new groundwater well has been contaminated by oil field fluids from nearby operations. 

And oil field activities also produce deadly H2S [hydrogen sulfide] gas and VOCs [volatile organic compounds].

Further, old or poorly maintained equipment has often ignited wildfires in Cat Canyon. These can easily spread to schools, towns, and ranches.

More than 800,000 Californians live or attend school within 2,500 feet of oil operations. Studies clearly show that health impacts from proximity to oil development include cancer, asthma, pneumonia, skin-related hospitalizations, and depression. What should a reasonable buffer be? 

Studies support the assumption that 2,500 feet is the necessary distance to help alleviate the health impacts of air and water contamination. Though this buffer does not guarantee the absence of ill effects, it does mean that the concentrations of contaminants will be less harmful. 

This is a reasonable and supportable buffer that must be adopted if CalGEM is to fulfill its clearly stated new mandate to prioritize the protection of public health, safety, and the environment. And one more new rule that shouldn’t need any further explanation: no drilling through our drinking water sources.

Seth Steiner
Los Alamos

Weekly Poll
What do you think about Aera Energy canceling its project in Cat Canyon?

It's a victory for the environment!
It's a loss of a lot of potential jobs that are needed in North County.
I'm all for renewable energy, but we still need oil and gas.
The county should never approve another oil and gas project.

| Poll Results

My 805 Tix - Tickets to upcoming events