The complaint sent to the State EPA about the violations of the California Underground Injection Control (UIC) program and the noticed Feb 15, 2017 shut down of all 1650 non compliant wells was ‘closed.’
US EPA was the agency that brought the charges against DOGGR and was a party to the shut down deadline for safety and health reasons. State and Federal agencies and officials are ignoring and reneging on their own directive putting people and communities at risk.
None of the wells have been shut down or been certified compliant. Eleven plus wells in the Arroyo Grande Oil are still dumping an average of 1.6 million gallons of toxic radioactive waste water anywhere they want.
We sent a complaint to the EPA asking them to investigate the status of the non compliant wells. Here is the response we got back.
7:49 AM (January 3, 2018)
DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE.
Dear JEAN’NE BLACKWELL,
This message relates to the environmental complaint number COMP-36003 you submitted to the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) on 12/19/2017. Your complaint has been closed. Below is a list of agencies that handled your complaint. If you would like more information, please contact the listed agencies directly.
Agency: Department of Toxic Substances Control
Agency: State Water Resources Control Board
Agency: Air Resources Board
Nancy Lancaster, email@example.com
Really? Want more information? How about some information. Contact agencies with no contact info? What does ‘closed’ mean? This is outrageous. Here is what we wrote back. Will see how long it takes them to respond. If ever.
We are just making our case that this complaint process is worthless. We have done due diligence. We are not stupid and we know when we are being duped. If we want those wells shut down we are going to have to take the people responsible for shutting them down to court.
And that would be our BOS who has police powers to do it and hasn’t. You can’t fault the oil companies for trying to get away with murder.
We CAN and WILL however fault our elected officials for intentionally and with knowledge approve permits to drill and dump toxic waste in the unincorporated areas of SLO County. See it is every Supervisor’s sworn duty to make sure all contractors are licensed and have been certified according to the Code of Federal Regulations and the site has been designated an authorized toxic waste disposal site. That is their job.
There is absolutely no escaping the fact that our Board was warned, noticed and given ample opportunity to do the right thing and shut down those 11 illegal wells. Not to mention the illegal permitting of 35 other wells that had expired. We will not hesitate to do what we must do to insure our own safety health and well being.
This is what I wrote back.
Dear Ms Lancaster,
Re: comp-36003. I would like the results of the investigation. You can also supply me with the results of the investigation from the other agencies that were involved in the complaint process. I am sorry but informingusthe complaint is closed is not an appropriate response
We need to know what you investigated and what the results were. ‘Closed’ is not an answer.
Also got another letter from the Attorney General that is a carbon copy of 3 previous letters sent to us in response to our complaints and petition. Every complaint was met with the same response. No confidence at all in process or the agency. These form letters are insulting. We deserve better. They are attached.
Our issues are verifiable and valid. Random injection of unauthorized toxic waste in the unincorporated areas of San Luis Obispo is a violation of the State and Federal Codes and local planning and zoning ordinances. And something else State and local officials and agencies are ignoring.
There are penalties attached to those shut down deadlines. Who has Fiduciary responsibility to collect? The Attorney General, DOGGR, Water Resource Control Board, EPA, Governor? Who is in charge of enforcing the DOGGR directives and mandates? All of the above. So who is shirking their duty and responsibilities to the people of this State? All of the above.
Thirteen billion dollars could take care of a lot of infrastructure and fire damage from climate change that the oil industry is causing. Silence is consent. No one has demanded the wells be shut down and penalties applied.
I guess it is up to us now.
And if not us then who?
Feb. 15 will be one year 1650 wells in California are in violation of a shut down deadline. 1650 gross polluters flipping us off while elected officials exercise selective hearing loss. It’s not like the gross polluters didn’t know they were in violation of the shut down. They were properly warned and noticed years in advance of the deadline.
It appears very much like the polluters and state officials have a gentleman’s agreement when it comes to not enforcing deadlines. It happens a lot. But never mind. No one ever does anything about it so it gets forgotten. Yea, not this time. We have filed complaints and petitions about the neglect of public officials and agencies to act in our best interest and in a timely manner. We have gotten the bums rush from Air Resources, EPA, DOGGR and Attorney General. We have no reason to believe they have any interest in responding to our complaints.
We have given every official and State agency involved in this charade a chance to do the right thing and get the oil fields certified safe and registered. We have petitioned the Board of Supervisors with over 89,000 signatures from local municipalities local environmental organizations, local residents and visitors from across the state, United States and Beyond to no avail.
We have contacted DOGGR, Water Resources, EPA and the State Attorney General who has time to sue Trump 21 times for violating implementation of rules and regulation but can’t enforce one simple shut down order in his own state. We have done due diligence.
We have a paper trail of neglect.
Here is what happens when people, safety rules and regulations, policy and guide lines State and Federal laws are not observed, enforced and knowingly and willfully ignored and dismissed by elected officials.
And this happens.
Years of abuse goes on under the watchful eyes of lead agencies and elected officials. Sound familiar? No one paid any attention to the gymnasts who complained about abuse by the team doctor. All official had to do was follow up on the complaints to make things right.
Years of abuse in Hollywood by people in power because no one followed up on complaints until now. Everything changed when the people in charge do the right thing. What are we waiting for? If our BOS won’t do it on their own then we must force them to enforce the rules and regulations. That’s what the courts are for.
The Arroyo Grande Oil field does not have, has never had, an EPA ID number. That is grounds for immediate closure.
An exemption is not a substitute for an EPA ID #. An EPA ID # is mandatory before you can dump one drop of toxic waste by product into the subterranean surface with fault lines and for good reason. The site is rigorously inspected and meets very strict safety and health standards under RCRA Title 40 CFR. The site must be certified safe and impermeable for 10,000 years or until the waste is rendered inert whichever comes first.
You can’t exempt a site that has never been inspected and certified safe and sits on 3 active fault lines. That is just crazy talk. So this whole exemption process is just another wham, bam, scam and we are NOT buying it.
We are not buying it which means we are demanding our Board produce the EPA ID # for AGOF.
They will be hard pressed because there isn’t one and that is a major freaking violation of standards and practices, codes and regulations and more than anything a breach of trust by elected officials and their appointees
AGOF has never been legally certified or authorized to dispose of toxic waste by products anywhere in SLO County. And dumping has been illegally going on for over 20 years. Enough is enough and what are we waiting for?
That is what the Feb. 15, 2017 shut down of all unlicensed, unpermitted wells was all about. The reason for the deadline and shut down was to bring all offending non compliant illegal wells into compliance for safety and health reasons.
Never happened. Sentinel is still dumping, still illegal and everyone knows it. AGOF also cited for neglecting to report dumping of radioactive waste and the violation was ignored. Abuse celebrated by elected officials and agency who continue to block, avoid and dismiss investigation of complaints.
Board of Supervisors is liable for approving permits to unlicensed contractors. We can prove the Arroyo Grande Oil Field does not have, has never had an EPA ID #. Supervisor’s liable for partnering up with unlicensed contractors. Liable means they either make it right and revoke the permit and shut down the illegal operations now or the courts will step in and tell them to do their job and if they still refuse they will be in contempt and go to jail until they come to their senses.
Good to know we have a go to plan and not afraid to use it. We are done waiting, pleading, begging to be heard and wrongdoers punished. Dumping toxic waste in our backyard is Wrong and we want it stopped now. Making our demands official is what happens next.
Is California going to be the next Alabama? West Virginia? OR is doing the New York thing what real leaders do? Here is what we have to do. Ready?
New York is NOT going to be caught holding a huge portfolio of worthless dinosaur guts like California is determined to do. Divesting from oil and suing 5 major oil companies for damages caused by climate changing Sandy is going to put New York, New York in the pink and top of the heap.
Who is leading this charge? The Mayor of New York. Local Action is inspiring other communities, states and nations to do the same.
We are silent no more.
New York residents are going to win because their elected officials care.
Their elected officials are on their side.
They are going to win because rules and regulations are only as good as the people that enforce them. And there are good people who care about the rule of law and doing the right thing in New York, Washington and Oregon.
Those States have elected officials who have refused to allow fossil fuels to bully them into dumping toxic industrial waste into their backyard. NASA has just issued conclusive evidence that methane from oil and gas is the leading cause of climate change. Suing the fossil fuel industry is what real leaders do. Suing the BOS is what real residents do when their elected officials refuse to do their job and keep the community safe as vowed and promised.
Gov. Brown is trying his level best to win the race to the bottom of the barrel by ignoring good science and the good people of this State. Governor Brown Betrays Californians With Massive Giveaway To Big Oil In Cap-And-Trade Program, Reports Consumer Watchdog So Brown is a waste of space right now. It is time we take responsibility for getting our elected officials to do their job or else.
We are the change that needs to happen. We need to change our tune.
What to do here in SLO? For one thing we can Lawyer up and demand the BOS do their job to insure contractors are licensed and in compliance with all State and Federal laws. Remind them they can and will be held liable for failing to insure proper licensing. We have them dead to rights and it is time to start taking care of business of insuring our own safety, health and well being. Or not. And we know what ‘or not’ looks like. It looks like Alabama and West Virginia.
There is absolutely no reason why we should live in constant fear of our lives and livelihood because of illegal and unlawful operations going on in our backyard. If we can’t trust our lawmakers to do the right thing then it is time to take the law into our own hands.
And that means we use the courts to restore our legal, lawful rights to a safe, clean environment.
And second thing we can do is to recycle all those parasitic oil loving, brain dead climate deniers, out of office. We frankly don’t have any use for or time to convince these ne’er do wells that oil is a dying industry and it is killing us.
We do have time, energy and resources to evict their sorry behinds from their positions of power and send them packing to where the sun don’t shine. We can do that.
Our vote is our voice and cannot be denied.
Democracy is not a spectator sport. We are players and we are in for the win. Stay tuned. Lawyering up in the works.
Happy New Year 2018