US Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla call on Home Office not to weaken oversight of oil and gas drilling in Santa Barbara County

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October 27, 2021 – Washington – Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla (both D-Calif.) On Tuesday called on the Home Office to withdraw its general plan Conservation plan for oil and gas drilling in Santa Barbara County and continue to use existing project specific habitat conservation plans.

The continuation of the Home Ministry’s draft plan may lead to insufficient information on how proposed oil and gas projects may harm health and the environment, including damage to endangered or endangered species. disappearance. With the California Geologic Energy Management Division’s recent draft rule regarding buffer zones around oil and gas wells, California is leading the transition to clean energy and the Home Office is expected to follow suit. .

“We are writing to ask the US Fish and Wildlife Service to withdraw the Draft General Conservation Plan (GCP) and associated Environmental Assessment Project (EA) for oil and gas activities in Santa Barbara County, California. ” the senators wrote in a letter to Home Secretary Haaland. “Instead of proceeding with these drafts, we urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to continue to require that new oil and gas proposals be considered as part of project-specific habitat conservation plans. We are particularly concerned that, if implemented, the GCP could lead to insufficient information on how proposed oil or gas projects can harm the community, air quality and the environment. water and endangered species in the county. “

The full text of the letter follows and is available here:

October 26, 2021

The Honorable Deb Haaland
US Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NO
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Haaland:

We are writing to ask the US Fish and Wildlife Service to withdraw the Draft General Conservation Plan (GCP) and associated Environmental Assessment Project (EA) for oil and gas activities in Santa Barbara County, California. Instead of proceeding with these drafts, we urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to continue to require that new oil and gas proposals be considered as part of project-specific habitat conservation plans. We are particularly concerned that, if implemented, the GCP could lead to insufficient information on how proposed oil or gas projects can harm the community, air quality and the environment. water and endangered species in the county.

We understand from local stakeholders that the Fish and Wildlife Service’s General Conservation Plan of March 2020 does not take into account basic requirements under the Endangered Species Act. Specifically, the plan states that it “would simplify the application for a section 10 (a) (1) (B) bycatch permit by allowing the Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a single general conservation plan. for a local area ”. This approach is of concern as it would cover a wide range of complex oil and gas activities and an overly broad planning area comprising over 674,000 acres, from farmland to urban developments and parts of the Santa Barbara coastline.

In addition, we are concerned that streamlining the process for issuing incidental take permits for oil and gas projects may damage or kill three species that are protected or threatened with extinction under the Endangered Species Act ( California red-legged frog, California tiger salamander, and Lompoc yerba santa) and would bypass much more stringent habitat conservation plan requirements.

Given the environmental concerns associated with oil and gas activities, as well as their potential to harm threatened or endangered species, we believe that any request for new oil and gas activities should be considered as thoroughly as possible. Thank you for your consideration of this request. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Truly,

Diane finstein
United States Senator

Alex Padilla
United States Senator
Source: Senator Dianne Feinstein


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