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PCEC’s plan to add more oil wells at Orcutt Hill rejected

Cheers of victory for environmental groups rang out in Santa Maria as the decision to add more oil wells at Orcutt Hill was voted down.

In a meeting that had more than 50 people give public comment, people showed different emotions as a result of this decision.

“Well first of all we’re very disappointed in this vote because this is a very excellent project with minimum impact to the environment,” says Jim Bray, Public Affairs Consultant for PCEC.

In fact, the Pacific Coast Energy Company revised their original plan after last month’s meeting, this time adding options like excluding the Careaga area which would have dropped the number of potential wells from 144 to 112.

They also offered to fund a research grant of $125,000 to study the Yerba Santa plant; for some supervisors this was too little too late.

“A project has changed based on a conversation so I need to express my discomfort with what we’re seeing here,” explains Supervisor Janet Wolf.

Not all of the supervisors felt this way however – Supervisor Steve Lavagnino saying: “This is a sad day for Santa Barbara County. I thought this applicant went above and beyond what was needed – I think once again we continue to move the goal post away.”

Ultimately, environmental defenders and those who were against the project walked away with all smiles.

“It’s a great decision for the environment, it’s a big victory for our communities and our water,” Alena Simon from Santa Barbara County Food and Water Watch tells us.

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