oil and gas

Flickr/Ben Klocek

More than 100 local elected officials across California sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown this week calling for a statewide plan “to phase out oil and gas drilling.” The letter included names of some recognizable Central Coast public figures.

Hank Hadley, KCBX

If you've been to the pump recently on the Central Coast, you've probably noticed higher-than-usual gas prices. For weeks, prices have been hovering around the $4.00/gallon mark, and now it's up to $4.29 for regular unleaded in Cambria. 

Broadcast date: 2/1/2018

The plan for new offshore drilling proposed off the California Coast by the Trump Administration -- said to be the largest expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling in U.S. history— along with local concerns over the threat of expanded oil production and fracking in San Luis Obispo County, has bought worry to many along the Central Coast.  Memories of recent devastating oil spills in Santa Barbara and the Deepwater Horizon oil rig catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, both of which caused massive environmental disasters, are still fresh in people’s minds, as well as numerous reports of increased earthquake activity in fracking areas.

Flickr member Mike Baird

The Trump Administration has announced a plan to open up California waters to offshore oil exploration and drilling. Intending to replace a current plan in place through 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior said it will release a new draft proposal for offshore lease sales starting in 2019. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

A legal settlement this week will make it harder for the Trump administration to open federally-owned public lands to oil and gas development, particularly on the Central Coast.

Glenn Beltz/http://bit.ly/2onJwBU

The energy company Venoco announced it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company told the California State Lands Commission it no longer has the financial means to continue operating its oil platform in the Santa Barbara Channel. 

dirtsailor2003/http://bit.ly/2i89Pxu

This week the White House announced President Obama has removed large areas of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans from all future oil and gas exploration. But the president did not include Central Coast waters - or the rest of the West Coast - under the umbrella of permanent protection, at least not yet. 

Aera Energy  and Chevron have filed separate lawsuits against Monterey County, alleging the passage of Measure Z will shut down oil production in the county. 

Greta Mart/KCBX

California Governor Jerry Brown Tuesday sent a letter to President Obama, requesting the president permanently ban offshore oil and gas exploration in California’s coastal waters.

Christopher Bowns/Flickr

The Obama Administration confirmed this week there will be no new oil drilling allowed in federal waters off California’s Central Coast, at least for the next five years. 

Monterey County voters back fracking ban

Nov 15, 2016
Don Barrett/Flickr

Monterey County is now the seventh county in California to ban fracking. Voters there approved Measure Z last Tuesday by a margin of 11 points.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was preparing to file supplemental court papers later this month, after a federal judge this week blocked any new fracking on BLM land in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and other Central California counties.

Venoco, Inc.

An oil company with a significant presence in the Santa Barbara Channel is skipping a $13.7 million interest payment due this week. 

Flickr member Drew Jacksich

The non-partisan San Luis Obispo County League of Women Voters took a stand this summer against the proposed Phillips 66 oil train project.

Lisa Osborn, KCBX News

Two powerful women in Congress are making a push for more stringent oil industry safety standards on the Central Coast. 

The State of California wants to expand an area approved for oil industry injection wells in San Luis Obispo County.

Santa Barbara County Fire

San Luis Obispo County Environmental Health Services now says an intense thunderstorm was responsible for Monday's oil spill near Cuyama off Highway 166. 

Santa Barbara County Fire Department

A federal report released Wednesday shows differing accounts of the thickness of the Plains All-American oil pipeline that ruptured in Santa Barbra County back on May 19.

Third party metallurgists in the field following the oil spill reported the pipeline walls were down to an estimated 1/16th of an inch in some places, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) Amended Corrective Action Order (CAO).

Flickr member Mike Baird

A pair of Central Coast lawmakers are working on a set of new bills to address concerns following last month's oil spill on the Santa Barbara coast.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) said Tuesday that she'll soon introduce two new pieces of legislation. One will cover rapid clean-up response and the other will address oil pipeline inspections.

Assembly Member Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) said he's addressing the issue of pipeline technology, including the addition of automatic shut-off valves.

Flickr member Mike Mozart

Gas prices on the Central Coast are nearly 30 cents higher per-gallon than they were just a week ago. Statewide they've jumped 44 cents per-gallon over the past two weeks.

As of Thursday, a gallon of regular unleaded in San Luis Obispo County was going for $3.64, that's up from $3.34 last week, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. In Santa Barbara County, those numbers jumped from $3.23 to $3.56.

Randol White, KCBX

Revamping the state's oil and gas watchdog group will be the topic of discussion in Sacramento next week.

The push comes from a Central Coast politician who wants to see far more oversight of local drilling operations. State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson said the watchdog group has not been doing its job of protecting and informing the public.

Flickr member Loco Steve

A temporary ban on fracking in Monterey County was not approved at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, following passionate public comment and split opinions from the board members themselves.

A majority of the board indicated there is no need for a moratorium sighting that there are currently no oil and gas operations in the county using hydraulic fracturing.

Much of the conversation at the meeting was also focused on the state's obligation to regulate the industry under SB-4.

Flickr member Drew Jacksich

Santa Barbara County and City leaders will be take part in a community meeting Monday night to discuss the proposed Phillips 66 oil train project.

A growing number of districts and municipalities up and down the California coast, including several cities and counties, are writing to the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission to express concern over the plan. All are situated along Union Pacific rail lines that could potentially carry the additional tanker cars.

Flickr member Mike Mozart

A steep jump in gas prices along the Central Coast is likely to continue for the time being. Maria Montgomery with AAA says the rise has mostly been fueled by problems in Southern California.

"We've seen prices rise in the Central Coast area over a dollar in the last month and it is primary because a local refinery in Torrance has been affected by an explosion and that has sent wholesale prices skyrocketing," said Montgomery.

Flickr/Ben Klocek

A new bill up for consideration in Sacramento is aimed at protecting groundwater from oil and gas drilling operations.

Central Coast Assembly Member Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) introduced AB-356 on Tuesday. It would require monitoring near Class II injection wells.

Currently, there are nearly 42,000 oil field injection wells operating in the state, according to the California Department of Conservation. These wells are designed to increase oil recovery and "safely dispose of the salt and fresh water produced with oil and natural gas" the department states.

Flickr member Ken Lund

An environmental group took the first step toward suing the federal government on Thursday, over fracking in the Santa Barbara Channel.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Interior Department for violating federal law in regards to offshore fracking approvals.

The group says the government did not evaluate how the enhanced oil extraction practice may pollute local waters, nor its effects on marine wildlife prior to issuing the approvals to oil companies. 

Wikimedia Commons / Environmental Protection Agency

Representatives from the "Yes On P" Campaign conceded early Tuesday night, with initial numbers showing a strong lead for opposition of the Measure. They say the campaign was the "beginning on the fight-- not the end."

Measure P was designed to ban the use of high-intensity oil extraction methods--including fracking, acidizing, and steam injection-- by future oil and gas projects on unincorporated Santa Barbara County land.

Photo by Jeanne Sparks

Rallies both for and against a proposed fracking ban in Santa Barbara County hit the streets of Santa Maria Wednesday around lunchtime.

The Yes on Measure P supporters initiated the effort to rally North County voters. The No on Measure P side got wind of it and staged their own counter demonstration.

Representatives from both sides tell KCBX the interactions were civil. They say anywhere between 70 and 100 people participated with more more people showing up for the yes side.

Flickr/Ben Klocek

The latest campaign finance figures from the California Secretary of State's office and the Santa Barbara County Clerk-Recorder show the battle over fracking is a costly one on the Central Coast. And, the contributors footing most of the bill are big oil companies.

This November's Measure P is designed to ban the use of high-intensity oil extraction methods—including fracking, acidizing, and steam injection—by future oil and gas projects on unincorporated Santa Barbara County land.

Flickr/Ben Klocek

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday night on the issue of hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking' as it's more commonly known.

The vote was in line with what members of the local petroleum industry were requesting during the board's public comment period, in which more than 50 people were signed up to speak.

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