Environmental group appeals new oil wells in Price Canyon

November 27, 2015

Oil_wellThe nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity has appealed a decision by the San Luis Obipso County Planning Commission to let an Arizona natural resources company drill 31 new wells in Price Canyon near Pismo Beach. The Center for Biological Diversity argues the plan threatens underground water supplies.

Freeport-McMoRan, which mines precious metals and produces oil and gas, plans to to drill or replace a total 450 wells in Price Canyon. The 31 wells approved by the planning commission would comprise the initial phase of the expansion. Freeport-McMoRan currently pumps 5,000 barrels a day out of Price Canyon.

The primary grounds of the Center for Biological Diversity’s appeal is that Freeport-McMoRan is using a decade-old permit to expand its drilling operation. The appellant argues a new environmental review is needed.

County planners have approved a three-year extension of Freeport-McMoRan’s permit. As conditions for the permit extension, the planning commission mandated that the company install monitoring wells and conduct water-well testing upon the request of neighbors.

The SLO County Board of Supervisors will now decide whether or not to uphold the extension.

Center for Biological Diversity attorney Maya Golden-Krasner said the supervisors must not bend the rules and allow the dangerous drilling.

“It’s unsafe and irresponsible to renew the expired permit to drill these wells based on a cursory environmental review that’s 10 years old,” Golden-Krasner said. “The county must protect people’s water supplies from oil industry pollution.”

At least 100 water supply wells are within one mile of Freeport-McMoRan’s oilfield, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Neighbors have expressed grave concern about contamination, and a hydrologist told county planners the oil company failed to provide data showing the wells will not be at risk of oilfield pollution, the environmental group states.

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6 Comments

  1. DrillBabyDrill says:

    I’m willing to bet the target depth is thousands of feet below the water table. I don’t see much of a threat if the well is properly cased and cemented. Most people will be quick to judge and criticize pro-oil and think the drilling of an oil well automatically pollutes everything around it. You obviously know nothing about the drilling process. I’m sure some alternative fuel will replace the billions of vehicles and machinery all over the world. If you’re going to bash oil stop using anything that comes from it, including the keys on your computer the machinery that made it, the trucks that shipped your food to the grocery store, anything with plastic in it. Let’s get real! http://www.texlark.com/crude-oil-facts/

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. Pelican1 says:

    At a time when no one wants off shore drilling, on shore drilling, nuclear power, wind farms or solar farms…all due to the environmental impacts each poses…exactly what energy source are we to depend on?

    (13) 25 Total Votes - 19 up - 6 down
    • Francesca Bolognini says:

      Thank you! Excellent question! One that is very important to be able to answer. So, I will offer just a few suggestions:

      Although there is no real major mdia coverage of these developements, given that those outletsare fully owned by the very entities that profit from the extraction sources listed in your comment, major progress has been made in the field of clean, renewable energy

      First off, you can, with a little research, find that the US Navy (not fly by night, pie in the sky, tree huggers) has announced the developement of jet fuel based on sea water. This fuel will become available within the next few years, as it has already been used to power small spy devices in the water and now to run gas engines for model planes. I have been following this story for over a year. They expect it to be priced between $3-$6 to start. Price likely FALLING from there.

      The Koch bros., not a big fan of them by the way, recently bought National Geographic. I originally thought that they were just going to shut them up, Nat. Geo. being a major proponent of climate action, but then I found out something else. They have also invested heavily into cutting edge Solar tech that is many times more efficient than previous patents and with better batteries, that would allow full power of your home, car, business, etc., forom solar, even in a cold and rainy climate and even at night. These cells are extremely thin and efficient beyond imagination. So they bought Nat Geo to advertise to the very people who would most readily to respond to the tech, especially after they spend billions to tell people climate change didn’t exist. PG&E has heavily invested as well, although when the time comes, I would prefer to be off their grid at this point.

      Just a couple of examples, but they would not require such extensive areas as solar farms do now and NO new drilling would make any sense whatsoever. Especially in an area where the fresh water is the most necessary resource. The solar tech is so thin that it could comprise the paint on your car. Or your home. Whatever. If you think I am making this up, do a bit of research.

      Several utilities and extraction enterprises are attempting to lock us in on the eleventh hour to projects utilizing their outdated, environmentally damaging and much more expensive tech, as a last ditch effort to continue to extract our money. Don’t fall for it. The future is NOW.

      (-4) 22 Total Votes - 9 up - 13 down
      • Russ J says:

        When all these great things some to market, I’m in! For now, pass someone else the pipe, you’ve smoked enough.

        (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
    • hijinks says:

      Your loaded question misses the point of this particular matter. First off, Price Canyon is not an “eneregy source.” The stuff, called “the world’s worst crude,” is bitumen, which is the stuff the Chumash coated their canoes with to make them waterproof, and the stuff your street department paves your street with. Second, you need to understand what we’re talking about here: thick goo that can only be pumped from the ground after being heated with steam injected under pressure into the wells, said steam made by burning about a third of the “oil” extracted from the ground and consuming a lot of scarce ground water, causing a lot of air pollution in the process.

      So, shed no tears if this particular tiny “oil field” cannot be expanded. We don’t need it. There’s a glut of oil right now. That’s why gas is cheap again. If we leave this goo in the ground for now, it can fill more important needs than powering cars some day in the future — like paving the road in front of your house, or making the plastic for your fridge of the future.

      (-1) 13 Total Votes - 6 up - 7 down
      • moto1965 says:

        Just an FYI, they dont burn oil in the steam generators to create steam on Price Canyon. They either use Natural Gas or they reuse the Hydrogen Sulfide Gas (H2S) which comes out of the ground with the oil, strip it of its sulfur and burn that. You will notice the stacks on price canyon arent billowing black smoke because they are burning cleaner resources.

        (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down

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