The California State Lands Commission has terminated three offshore oil and gas leases and a pipeline right of way lease off the coast of Carpinteria.
The commission has been working to compel state leases Carone Petroleum Corp. and Signal Hill Services Inc. to pay rent and maintain a sufficient bond on their leases, according to a Friday news release.
“The State Lands Commission’s primary responsibility is to protect the public’s interest in over 5 million acres of state lands. Today’s action affirms that the Commission will always hold lessees accountable to the required standards of lease agreements, particularly when it comes to offshore oil drilling,” said Lt. Gov. and Commission Chairwoman Eleni Kounalakis in a prepared statement.
State officials say the oil and gas leases have not been in production since 1992 and there is no infrastructure on state land to be removed.
The pipelines within the right of way lease were operational. State officials say Carone once planned to use Platform Hogan, in federal waters off Santa Barbara, to drill oil from its state leases.
The lease termination will return nearly 4,000 acres of “tide and submerged lands” within the protection of the California Coastal Sanctuary Act.
“Today’s actions are solely a result of Carone Petroleum Corporation and Signal Hill Services, Inc. failure to comply with their lease obligations,” the news release says.
“These lease terminations demonstrate the Commission’s steadfast commitment to protecting natural resources and public lands. We will continue to ensure lessees uphold their obligations to the people of California,” said State Controller and Commissioner Betty T. Yee in a statement.
“It’s been a long time coming and this is great news for the Carpinteria community,” said Linda Krop, chief counsel for the Environmental Defense Center.
Ms. Krop explained that Venoco and Carone have been trying to develop the leases since 1997.
Now that they have been terminated, Santa Barbara County is free from oil drilling in state waters, Ms. Krop said.