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lickforkabsorbingOil and Offshore

Nov 8, 2013 (4 years and 2 days ago)

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By
Taylor Van Arsdale
Photos by: Bob Blackwell
&
nvir
onmentalist Jack Eidt’s a man on many missions. His fi
rst (back in 2004) was Rancho Mission V
iejo (“RMV”) and the
plight to save one of the last undeveloped watersheds in Califor
nia—the San Mateo Cr
eek watershed. When the thr
eat of large-
scale development (14,000 homes) jeopar
dized this wilder
ness str
etch, it pr
ompted Eidt to for
m W
ild Heritage Planners (“WHP”)
with partners Jerry Collamer and Pete V
an Nuys to “collaborate with gover
nment, industry, and stakeholders as urban planners,
transportation advocates, and sustainability advisors.” His most r
ecent ventur
e: the contr
oversy and misinfor
mation surr
ounding
r
enewed inter
est in

of
fshor
e drilling of the Santa Barbara coast.



An
avid
hiker
and
vegetarian,
Eidt
has
long
had
a
passion
for
pr
otecting
wilder
ness
as
well
as
success
in
getting
people
to
see
things
fr
om
“a
dif
fer
ent
perspective.”
In
the
RMV
case,
WHP
came
up
with
a
land
use
plan—a
compr
omise
between
the
Sierra
Club’s
inter
est
in
pr
otecting
the
land
and
RMV’s
company’s
inter
est
in
building
homes—along
with
alter
natives
to
avoid
the
existing
San
Onofr
e
Beach
Park
(T
r
estles
Beach).
A
toll
r
oad
extension
(str
etching
thr
ough
that
back
country)
was
also
pr
oposed,
which
Eidt
ar
gued
was
unnecessary.
That
pr
oposed
alignment
went
to
the
coastal
commission
and
was
denied
8:2
in
2008.
“The
T
ransportation
Corridor
agencies
tried
to
r
epeal
it
to
the
commer
ce
department,
but
it
never
went
thr
ough,”
Eidt
said.
He
modestly
attributes
their
success
at
the
first
hearing
to
the
fact
that
ther
e
wer
e,
“4000
people
who
showed
up
to
support
‘Save
T
r
estles’
lar
gely
due
to
the
ef
forts of the Sierra Club, the Sur
f Rider Coalition, and the sur
f community.”

72

ULM
AGAZINE.COM


APRIL
2009

/

ST
A
Y
CONECTED
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.

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P
During our conversation, Eidt r
efer
ences obscur
e facts and fi
gur
es, legal jar
gon and statistics
r
elating to all things envir
onmental as easily as you or I might r
ecall what we ate for br
eakfast. He
sifts thr
ough mountains of paperwork to discer
n those nuances in lengthy legal pr
oposals that may
ultimately endanger our ecosystems, making it easy for the r
est of us to understand the bottom
line. Then he comes up with sustainable solutions to pr
oblems that ar
e not being discussed by
developers and gover
nmental agencies. He does all this voluntarily, rar
ely getting paid for his work.
WHP works in conjunction with envir
onmental gr
oups and sometimes, in the case of the drilling
issue in Santa Barbara, against them. Eidt, who r
eceived his Masters in Urban Planning (UCLA) and
his under
graduate Envir
onmental Studies (UCSB) said, “One of the fi
rst issues, an envir
onmental
studies major at UCSB gets involved in, is of
fshor
e drilling. The community is not happy about all the
talk. For years envir
onmental gr
oups have been saying, ‘no’ to the oil companies and the state
coastal sanctuary (str
etching fr
om the beach to thr
ee miles into the coast) has been of
f limits to
new drilling. Back in 1969 ther
e was an oil spill in the Santa Barbara channel. Thousands of bir
ds
wer
e killed, beaches wer
e coated with thick layers of oil.” Admittedly, the gover
nment’s clean
up techniques ar
e better than they wer
e in the 60s but ther
e’s still a huge cost to our eco-system.
“If we look at Prince W
illiam Sound and Exxon’s V
aldez
spill—these ar
eas will never be the same. Oil is the ‘gift’
that keeps on giving, polluting an ar
ea continuously,” Eidt
lamented.
W
ith r
espect to Santa Barbara, ther
e ar
e natural oil
seeps of
f its coast. “When we’d go surfi
ng,” Eidt explained,
“W
e’d call it Black W
ave Syndr
ome ... little oil slicks in
certain ar
eas. But it’s not usable crude. It r
equir
es a lot
of pr
ocessing and has not been fi
nancially viable…until
r
ecently.”
The inter
est was sparked in April 2008 when Plains
Exploration Petr
oleum (“PXP”) agr
eed to donate 200 acr
es
of land on the Gaviota coast and also the long fought
over eco-ar
ea—the Burton Mesa—to the T
rust for Public
Land ef
fectively allowing envir
onmentalists to manage
it. In exchange, PXP agr
eed to cease all oil pr
oduction
operations by 2022. Some of these operations would be
taken down by 2017, undoing the Gaviota pr
ocessing
plant, as well as the Lompoc pr
ocessing plant and would
take four of their oil platfor
ms out of commission as well.

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PHOTO COUR
TESY OF JACK EIDT
PHOTO BY KEN KUR
TIS
(3&&/;0/&
Bob Blackwell is commer
cial photographer specializing in portraitur
e and ar
chitectur
e. His personal work
questions the for
ces of confl
ict and injustice and asks viewers to do the same by pr
esenting the question
thr
ough images based on symbols fr
om both curr
ent and historical sour
ces. Is ther
e ever a time when killing is
the right thing to do? Ar
e man and natur
e r
eally for
ces in opposition to one another? His past pr
ojects include
“Structures of God and Man”
—which looks at the interplay of man and natur
e, and
“The Fourth Horseman”

which looks at the necessity of confl
ict thr
ough the prism of the Iraq W
ar
. Blackwell is curr
ently working on
“TARP”,
a pr
oject that looks at the rape of the US T
r
easury and the consequences and bur
den to the average
citizen. His work is sold as fi
ne art prints and he is available for both commer
cial work and to business gr
oups for
speaking engagements.
For mor
e info: www.bobblackwellphoto.com
The Envir
onmental Defense Center (“EDC”) the lead envir
onmental gr
oup along with Get Oil Out (“GOO”—which has existed
since 1969) negotiated a deal with the oil companies that would allow them to drill fr
om an existing platfor
m into the sanctuary.
It is unpr
ecedented; a landmark deal. Never have envir
onmentalists and oil companies been able to get together and agr
ee
on a way to end of
fshor
e oil drilling.
But Eidt doesn’t like this deal. He doesn’t like it at all. He acknowledges that ther
e ar
e some ‘positive aspects’ such as the,
“lur
e of 1.5 million dollars (donated by PXP) to: buy hybrid buses for SB County, to mitigate gr
eenhouse gas emissions, and give
sizeable bumps to local and state

gover
nments, but ther
e ar
e signifi
cant and crucial negative points that need to be explained.
The most obvious is that once a pr
ecedent is established, any oil company simply has to pay some money, do some mitigation
and they can get their way.”
Curr
ently ther
e ar
e four oil platfor
ms in the southwest ar
ea near Point Arr
gueyo and Gaviota that ar
e in question, the main one
being Platfor
m Ir
ene. The Mineral Management Service (“MMS”), which oversees of
fshor
e drilling, would have sole discr
etion as
to deter
mining when these platfor
ms ar
e taken out of service. “Oil companies ar
e statutorily r
equir
ed to take out every dr
op of
oil and gas fr
om platfor
ms alr
eady in existence. It sounds like a good deal until you r
ealize that the end dates ar
e not technically
enfor
ceable, PXP only contr
ols one of the four platfor
ms that they claim to be decommissioning (Ir
ene), the land titles ar
e not
clear and donations ar
e not guaranteed. And the worst issue is that all this would be granted in exchange for the fi
rst new lease
in the State Coastal Sanctuary since 1969,” Eidt clarifi
ed.
Eidt believes this pr
oposal (if passed) will incr
ease oil drilling in Santa Barbara significantly. “W
ith 35 additional leases that have
the potential to go forwar
d, it’s a scary pr
ospect,” Eidt said. “But I see why certain gr
oups ar
e hungry to go ahead with the
deal.”
The bigger question: Is ther
e a nexus between oil development and land donation? “It’s a gr
eat thing to pr
otect the Gaviota
beach but the state doesn’t have all the infor
mation.” And added Eidt, “Lt. Gover
nor John Garamendi and Contr
oller Chiang,
who voted against the deal ar
e cognizant of their political futur
es and know it wouldn’t bode well for their state wide ambitions
[Garamendi plans on running for Gover
nor in 2010] to allow the fi
rst of
fshor
e oil drilling in over 40 years.” W
e haven’t hear
d the
end of the PXP deal. “That’s why the State Lands Commission voted the pr
oject down in January. PXP/EDC ar
e planning to
apply again [within two months], so we’r
e telling them no … again.”
Translation: we’re not quite out of the water just yet.
For mor
e info visit: www.wildheritageplanners.com or www.votethecoast.or
g
P
74

ULM
AGAZINE.COM


APRIL
2009

/

ST
A
Y
CONECTED
. GET LINKED
.