SLO County Farm Bureau Opposes Oil & Gas Operational Restrictions Legislation

May 7, 2019

The San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau has chosen to OPPOSE AB 345 (Muratsuchi),which would impose a 2,500-foot setback requirement from specific locales, for new or enhanced operation of oil and gas developments, even if they are permitted by the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources.

In San Luis Obispo County’s Edna Valley alone, there are perhaps 15-20 residences within 2,500 feet of existing wells at the Arroyo Grande Oil Field. Each of these homes is located on land zoned Agriculture and the field has operated in this setting for more than a century. It is difficult to see what would justify a setback after all this time.

Additionally, much of the Arroyo Grande Oil Field’s acreage would be disqualified from oil and gas operations. This is acreage where their steam generators and other facilities are currently located. Shutting this down would impact their ability to provide agricultural uses with produced water for use on crops. AB 345 would also have economic impacts to San Luis Obispo County by threatening high-paying jobs, which are already in jeopardy because of the closure of Diablo Canyon.

Oil & gas operations make a good neighbor to Ag and rural settings – we share similar land management practices such as respect for protected plant species, attention to erosion control, modest vehicular traffic, and good stewardship over natural resources. Imposition of an arbitrary setback seems oddly out of place between compatible neighboring land uses.

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