The State Lands Commission will cap two more wells on Summerland Beach this year.
Olsson #805 and Duquesne #910 are the two wells that will be capped in July, and were identified as part of the process for the recent capping of Treadwell and NorthStar.
Since the engineering was completed for those wells, SLC decided to finish all the wells.
They will be capped using money from SB44, the Coastal Hazards and Legacy Oil and Gas Well Removal and Remediation Program, authored by former State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.
Hillary Hauser, the executive director of the local nonprofit Heal the Ocean, said the organization “screamed” when they heard the news.
“Summerland Beach, right now because of getting those two wells capped last November, is a different beach,” she told the News-Press. “I sit here and work on the phone with papers and documents, so when I finally went down to Summerland at the end of all this, I didn’t even know where the wells were. It was just pristine.
“It was a clean beach. It looked like the Carribean.”
HTO Advisory Board member Harry Rabin is currently working with SLC contractors InterAct to monitor the results of the work and identify other sources of oil in the area, namely seeps.
Danny C, a special vessel involved with capping oil seeps, will come in with divers to double check where everything is, and Curtin Maritime will send its barge and oil divers to do the pile driving, cementing and all other well capping work.
“I am just thrilled to be working on physical things that make a physical difference,” Ms. Hauser said. “There’s a certain amount of policymaking that has to go on, but this is an enormous benefit to the ocean, so this kind of project makes me smile big.”
The plugging and abandonment for Duquesne and Olsson will be less complex than the previous cappings because of their locations in the tidal zone. The work is expected to start after July 2021 when the next state fiscal year starts and the SLC can access the next annual $2 million from SB44. The capping of these two wells is estimated to cost $1 million.
In a statement, HTO wrote, “HTO thanks the SLC for proceeding ahead with Summerland
work. There was the possibility of the next round of SB44 funding being used at Haskell’s Beach, near the Bacara, where there are other oil problems.
“Summerland Beach is ever so much cleaner, healthier and happier since Treadwell and NorthStar were capped in November 2020, but with this upcoming work, soon this stretch of coastline will be next to pristine. Better yet, there might be enough money left over in this funding cycle to tackle Haskell’s.”
A description of the project is available on HTO’s website, healtheocean.org.