BENEFITING: Los Padres Forest Watch, Inc.
EVENT DATE: Dec 31, 2015
On October 20, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved the drilling of 19 new oil wells in Santa Paula Canyon. Santa Paula Canyon is Ventura County’s most popular recreation trail, an important endangered wildlife habitat, and a gateway into Los Padres National Forest’s Sespe Wilderness. Their decision was based on a 37 year old environmental report.
Ventura County has violated the California Environmental Quality Act by illegally relying on an environmental impact report prepared in 1978. The law requires preparation of a new study that incorporates modern environmental protection standards, which have changed significantly over the last four decades.
We need your help today. On November 17, we at ForestWatch, along with Center for Biological Diversity, and Citizens for Responsible Oil & Gas, filed a lawsuit in superior court to stop this plan. ForestWatch needs to raise $30,000 by December 31, to cover our legal expenses. Your donation of $50, $100, or $500 ensures we have the resources necessary to mount a successful legal challenge and protect our public lands against oil development. Filing a lawsuit is not cheap, but it’s our last remaining option to stop the drilling plan and Save Santa Paula Canyon. Our suit asks the judge to revoke the drilling permit, pending completion of a current, legally adequate, and scientifically sound environmental impact report.
Dollar-for-dollar, saving Santa Paula Canyon is the most effective conservation effort you can make this year. Our coalition has obtained a top environmental law firm, and we are confident that we will prevail. ForestWatch has a history of valiantly fighting and winning against indiscriminate oil development. Our past successes include:
- Stopping a plan to drill on 52,000 acres in the Los Padres National Forest.
- Halting the Bureau of Land Management from leasing landowner’s mineral rights to oil companies.
- Preventing a new oil field from being developed in the Piru Canyonlands.
A lot has changed in Santa Paula Canyon since the last report was written in 1978. After decades of absence steelhead trout have returned to spawn in Santa Paula Creek, and endangered California condors have returned to the canyon after a half-century. Famed for her “Punch Bowl” swimming hole and waterfalls, the canyon is a favorite local and tourist recreational trail, now receiving thousands of visitors a year. An important part of our local heritage, the mouth of the canyon contains an ancient Chumash village site that needs assessment. Santa Paula Canyon is a local environmental, cultural, and recreational treasure, it is worth protecting.
Relying on an outdated impact report increases our risk of an oil spill in Santa Paula Creek, threatening returning condor and steelhead, and spoiling watersheds used to sustain local agriculture. Increasing the number of oil wells increases industrial traffic, noise and odors, and blots the visual beauty of our canyon. A current, legal, scientifically sound environmental impact report will help our community navigate mitigating these risks in our local National Forest.
Help us fight the good fight, and protect our wild places from indiscriminate oil development. Donate today.