GOLETA, Calif. /California Newswire/ — The City of Goleta hosted an oversight hearing today conducted by Assemblymember Pedro Nava, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, to examine the long term environmental hazards from oil and gas production along the California coast and in the Goleta Valley. (See agenda below.)

“The oil industry has abandoned facilities and infrastructure not only in Goleta, but all along the Santa Barbara County coast,” said Nava. “They pose threats to both the environment and public safety. It is imperative that we determine who has oversight responsibility to make sure that these sites and their corresponding infrastructure are properly removed so that the coast and its residents are protected.”

Nava continued, “Without any new drilling, 23 oil rigs off the California coast in federal waters will be set for decommissioning between 2015 and 2030. We will eventually see a clear horizon off the California coast.”

“Said Roger Aceves, “One of the more significant discussions missing from the politics and headlines about offshore oil is what to do about the aging oil-works that already dot the Santa Barbara Channel coastline. In Goleta, we face the constant threat of a high impact explosion, release or spill of hydrogen sulfide-laden oil and gas from an aging infrastructure. State Agencies must be held accountable for the conditions of these facilities and they should be working with local governments to protect our environment.”

Said Paul Thayer, Executive Director, California State Lands Commission, “The State Lands Commission wants to prevent and mitigate public and environmental hazards on state tide and submerged lands. These hazards can include marine debris, improperly abandoned oil wells and shipwrecks. The Commission requires hazard removal by responsible parties and continues to seek state and federal funding to address hazards where no responsible parties can be found.”

The oversight hearing featured state agencies and local government representatives who outlined and discussed their programs to address the long-term clean-up of abandoned oil and gas wells and production facilities. The public was invited to testify.