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Tougher Requirements for Santa Maria Energy Project

Santa Maria Energy has plans to build 110 new oil wells near Orcutt Hills, and a pipeline that will bring reclaimed water to help steam out the oil.

Some environmental groups approached Santa Barbara County officials with their concerns.

This month, the County Board of Supervisors approved the project, but not without laying tighter greenhouse gas emission standards on the company.

The board is asking Santa Maria Energy to purchase more greenhouse gas offset credits. Money paid for these credits go to reducing emissions elsewhere to make up for the company’s own emissions.

California State laws require the company to make up 16% of their emissions. The company already plans to pay for more than that. But one environmental group says the board has required the company to make up 90% of their emissions instead.

Santa Maria Energy says this will cost them $500,000 yearly, and they have no way to make up for the cost.

They believe what the Board of Supervisors did is wrong, and possibly illegal, but the company has decided not to file a lawsuit and swallow the cost instead.

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