The Central Coast of California was home to one of the largest oil booms in our nation’s history beginning in the late 1800s. Back then, once oil wells had reached their useful life, they were often abandoned with slapdash techniques. While natural seeps are present in the Santa Barbara Channel, several of these poorly-abandoned “legacy wells” leak significant volumes of oil, particularly in Summerland and Ellwood. State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) has championed legislation to help monitor and properly cap the 200+ legacy wells along the California coast. Senate Bill 44, the Coastal Oil Well Cleanup and Remediation Act, would require the State Lands Commission and Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to plug old oil wells that have been abandoned by companies that go out of business and cease to be held responsible. It would also require an in-depth study of oil seepage in coastal waters to determine points of origin, seepage rates, and environmental impacts.
Channelkeeper needs your help to show public support for this important bill. Visit www.sbck.org/legacywells to send an e-mail voicing your support and to learn more about how you can take action to help protect our coast.