Environmental groups are voicing opposition to the federal government's approval this month of new oil drilling at the Carrizo Plain National Monument. This photo shows the site of the proposed project.

The local office of the federal Bureau of Land Management has again approved a Bakersfield company's plan to drill an oil well at the Carrizo Plain National Monument despite the objections of two environmental groups.

The well E&B Natural Resources Corp. proposes at the foot of the Caliente Range about a 100-minute drive from Bakersfield in southeastern San Luis Obispo County would be the first drilled at the monument since the area's 2001 proclamation by former President Bill Clinton.

The Bakersfield field office of the BLM originally approved the project March 16, 2018. The decision was appealed a month later by the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity and Santa Barbara-based Los Padres Forest Watch. In July 2019, the BLM withdrew its approval.

Friday's reapproval came after the agency said it more fully addressed potential impacts it was accused of overlooking in 2018.

The two environmental groups say the project threatens to worsen global climate change, detracts from views of the area and potentially impacts threatened or endangered species.

They noted BLM's formal decision arrived on the day before a three-day weekend during a pandemic.

“While many of us are worried about basic needs during a time of crisis, the Trump administration is busy catering to the oil industry at the expense of people and the planet,” ForestWatch Executive Director Jeff Kuyper said in a news release Tuesday.

The BLM said by email Wednesday it took a close, updated look at the project in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and determined it presents no significant impacts to the environment and is not likely to hurt any of the species listed by environmental groups.

It noted the project's roads, well pads and facilities have to be designed for minimal environmental impact. It added the oil project is located on a lease grandfathered into the monument's creation.

"Our analysis shows that this new well poses no undue health or safety concerns, has no significant impacts to the environment and is consistent with management directives for the Carrizo Plain National Monument," Serena Baker, a spokeswoman for the BLM in Central California, said by email.

E&B said by email Wednesday afternoon it has been fully supportive of the governmental review process, which it noted has continued for more than eight years.

The Carrizo Plain measures more than 240,000 acres. It contains one of California's largest remaining native grasslands.

The BLM noted its decision can be appealed to the Interior Board of Land Appeals within 30 days of Friday's approval.

Follow John Cox on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf.

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(8) comments


Detract from views? Oh, he must mean like the windmills in the Mojave desert and mountains. Drill baby drill !!!

Masked 2020

"Trump administration is busy catering to the oil industry at the expense of people and the planet"... that's a Bingo...and such a shame

Gene Pool Chlorinator

OK Yorkies, as long as we're cherry picking sentences from the article...

"Our analysis shows that this new well poses no undue health or safety concerns, has no significant impacts to the environment and is consistent with management directives for the Carrizo Plain National Monument," Serena Baker, a spokeswoman for the BLM in Central California, said by email.

Masked 2020

now Gene ....really... all billion acres?...cut copy paste.... LOS ANGELES (CN) – The Trump administration finalized plans Thursday to open nearly 730,000 acres of public lands and mineral estate across California’s Central Coast and the San Francisco Bay Area to new oil and gas drilling.

The move ends over five years of no oil and gas leases, after a 2013 legal challenge against proposed expansion of oil drilling operations resulted in a ruling that the federal government unlawfully approved extraction plans without adequately analyzing their environmental impact.

As part of the settlement in the case, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management agreed to complete an environmental impact analysis before deciding whether to allow drilling and fracking on public land across California.

No new drilling leases have been issued since 2013 and the agency has not held a single lease sale in the state since.

In April, the Trump administration announced plans to open over 1 million acres in the Central Valley to oil drilling and fracking. The Golden State is already one of the nation’s largest oil and gas producing states with nearly 8,000 oil and gas wells.

Together with the Central Valley expansion, more than 1.7 million acres of land across California will now be opened to oil and gas leases. Thursday’s plan includes drilling in Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Merced, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, San Benito, San Mateo and Santa Cruz.

Clare Lakewood, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity which filed the 2013 lawsuit, said in a statement Thursday that the plan is an “assault” on some of the Golden State’s most pristine landscapes.

“Trump’s new plan aims to stab oil derricks and fracking rigs into some of California’s most beautiful landscapes,” said Lakewood. “From Monterey to the Bay Area, the president wants to let oil companies drill and spill their way across our beloved public lands and wildlife habitat.”

BLM spokesperson Serena Baker said in a statement the agency’s plan also closes off designated wilderness areas and national monuments to oil drilling and fracking.

“The BLM has a multiple-use mission providing opportunities for economic growth with space for traditional uses such as ranching, mining, logging, and energy development as well as hunting and fishing,” Baker said. “Public lands provide valuable, tangible goods and materials we rely on and use every day to heat our homes, build our roads, and feed our families.”

Baker also said the plan fulfills the agency’s commitment to a court order to prepare a thorough environmental analysis of oil drilling or fracking.

Federal law gives California Gov. Gavin Newsom 60 days to review the plan for any inconsistencies with state regulations. If Newsom finds irregularities and decides to offer recommendations, and the agency rejects them, the governor can appeal the agency’s determination.

A 2015 report from the California Council on Science and Technology found fracking in California happens at dangerously shallow depths that are close to underground drinking water reservoirs, leaching chemicals into water supplies that are dangerous to human health and the environment.

Voters in Monterey, San Benito and Alameda counties have passed ballot measures and backed county ordinances banning fracking and new oil drilling operations.

Gene Pool Chlorinator



Ignore state regulations. You go Trump !!!!!!!!!

Masked 2020


By Patricia Martellotti

today at 6:31 pm


May 28, 2020

4:23 pm

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - "AERA has opted to not pursue our conditional use permit for our east cat canyon oilfield project," said Rick Rust with AERA Energy.

Rust says the decision to end the east cat canyon oilfield project wasn't easy.

The company wanted to redevelop a 100-year-old field to pull heavy crude using steam injection. it may sound similar to fracking but the company says it isn't because it does not use high pressures.

"Our hope was to come in and redevelop an old and existing oil field. There are reserves in place for us to do that. But of course like any project it needs to be profitable," said Rust.

Rust says the decision to end the project is related to economic uncertainties in the oil industry.

"The historically low oil prices and the projected trends going forward and the economics for the project don't allow us to move forward," said Rust.

Environmentalists are glad to hear of the decision.

"A lot of community members were concerned about the health impacts it was going to have on our community," said Abraham Melendrez of Santa Maria.

While Rust says the company appreciates all that the community of Santa Barbara County has done to assist their efforts, in the end, it came down to simple economics. "If the price to produce the product is greater than what you can sell it for then it makes the project uneconomic and that's pretty much the situation we're in right now."


Yay for Trump!!! DBD !!!!

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