Editor, Daily Nexus,
I have recently been informed of Venoco’s plans to expand its oil drilling and processing facilities off Goleta’s coast. I vehemently oppose such a proposal that would put neighboring communities and schools at a health risk. Since Venoco has taken over the Ellwood facility there have been at least seven hydrogen sulfide leaks due to equipment malfunction. Local residents and students have complained of such odors in the past and in at least one of the hydrogen sulfide leaks people as far down as the Mesa detected it. Venoco currently operates from 35-year-old Platform Holly. The age of the platform poses additional risks to the neighboring waters.
As if health concerns aren’t enough to oppose any further development, Venoco is currently proposing a 24-mile pipeline that would transport oil from Gaviota to Rincon in Ventura County! This pipeline would bypass and disturb an established marine sanctuary. Why make an ecological preserve unless we are going to preserve it?
In 1997 Venoco had a 160-gallon spill of polymer. But Venoco is proud of the fact that there have only been a “few” oil and hydrogen sulfide leaks since they have taken over. The point is that oil operations involve oil, the ocean, and a huge potential risk for the future of our coast and health. As a student and resident of Isla Vista I am deeply concerned with the health, environmental and legality issues concerning Venoco’s proposal to expand any oil operations. On Dec. 3 the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will meet to hear the public’s concerns on Venoco’s plans for expansion at the County Administration Building, time TBA. For more information on how to get involved feel free to contact CalPIRG or the Environmental Affairs Board.