Terracore will delay the construction of Foxen Pipeline in Cat Canyon, relieving the company of the requirement to update their Environmental Impact Report.
Santa Barbara County, CA — Today, the Planning Commission voted 3-2 to approve Terracore’s request to extend the construction of the previously approved Foxen Pipeline, exempting the company from updating the pipeline’s Environmental Impact Report (published in 2015), a result opponents worry could enable more oil drilling. All public comments comprised community members and organization representatives voicing opposition to the extension being approved even when Spanish language translation did not begin working until half-an-hour into the hearing. Planning Commissioners also received over 100 emails against the extension. Even so, in a vote of 3-2 , the Planning Commission narrowly approved Terracore’s requested extension.
“We love animals, including toads, and we also love the people of our community who will be affected,” said Rosalba García of Lideres Campesinas.
“While at face value this vote is about a 3-mile pipeline, in reality it’s about the future of oil drilling in our county. The construction of the Foxen pipeline is a key step towards the drilling of over 200 new oil wells.” explains Emily Williams, representing 350 Santa Barbara.
The Foxen Pipeline Project is a critical component of Terracore’s larger proposal to expand drilling in the Cat Canyon oil field of Santa Maria, which would include the construction of hundreds of new wells and escalating production to approximately 10,000 barrels a day. The company has attempted to mask the enormous impact on our community and ecosystems by misleadingly separating the projects, thereby releasing two Environmental Impact Reports (EIR), as opposed to one that encompasses all of the risks implicated by this project. By having the extension request approved, Terracore seems to think they are exempt from updating their 2015 EIR. Not only does this outdated report fail to reveal the whole picture of the project being proposed, but it also does not account for the increase of Class 1 impacts in the past five years.
“Terracore got their extension by pretending this is a standalone project for their existing operations, even though it’s really about facilitating their oil expansion plans,” said Katie Davis, Chair of Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter. “This is an unstable operation with repeated bankruptcies, history of oil spills, fires and even a fatality. The expansion project faces intense public opposition, and delays and project piecemealing won’t help it get approved.”
In the coming months, community members and activists will continue the fight to reject Terracore’s proposal to drill over 200 new oil wells, as it has not yet been approved. If the drilling expansion permit is denied , Terracore has stated that they will not follow through on construction of the Foxen pipeline.
“This decision does not mark the end of our fight for healthy communities and ecosystems: we must continue to work hard to ensure that health and wellbeing are not sacrificed for the profit of a company,” says Elena Salinas, representing UCSB Food & Water Action.
“It’s time for Santa Barbara County to stop new fossil fuel projects and value people over polluters,” said Ana Rosa Rizo-Centino, Senior Organizer with Food & Water Action. “We call on Santa Barbara County Supervisors to protect our health, water and climate by rejecting Terracore’s Cat Canyon oil field expansion and it’s accompanying Foxen pipeline project.”