April 16, 2020
Dear Mr. Henry:
The non-profit Citizens Planning Association, representing residents from throughout Santa Barbara County, has supported sound land use policies on the Central Coast since 1960. We are writing to strongly oppose the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s draft General Conservation Plan (“GCP”), as well as the draft Environmental Assessment (“EA”), for oil and gas activities in Santa Barbara County.
The GCP would allow oil and gas operators to permanently destroy 675 acres of habitat for the California tiger salamander, 355 acres of critical habitat for the California red-legged frog, and 27.5 acres of Lompoc yerba santa stands. Under the GCP, the steps that an applicant must take to minimize and mitigate these significant impacts are inadequate to ensure the survival and recovery of the species.
Globally, around one million species are currently threatened with extinction and more than forty-percent of amphibians are threatened, according to a recent UN report. Climate change is a major driving force behind this loss of biodiversity and habitat destruction, which we are also experiencing in Santa Barbara County.
Citizens Planning Association strongly supports the County’s continuing transition to a clean energy future. The GCP, as proposed, would make it easier for operators to conduct dangerous, risky and unnecessary oil and gas projects at the expense of the general welfare of our community.
On behalf of the members of Citizens Planning Association and the residents of Santa Barbara County, we ask that you withdraw the proposed GCP and EA in the interest of the recovery of these protected species.
Marell Brooks, President
For Citizens Planning Association