Southern California Gas Storage Enhancement Project
[Web page updated 05/16/13]
The Santa Barbara County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider recommendations to the Board of Supervisors regarding certification of the Final EIR and action on the SoCal Gas project. The hearing will be held on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 in the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission Hearing Room, 123 East Anapamu Street, Room 17, Santa Barbara, CA, 93101. For more information, please refer to the Notice of Availability, the Notice of Extension, and the Revised Draft EIR and its Appendices. The Final EIR and its Appendices.
A Draft EIR for the SoCal Gas storage project was released for public review on May 24, 2011 through July 8, 2011. A public workshop was held on June 6, 2011 and an Environmental Hearing on June 30, 2011. Based on comments received, the County made several revisions to the Draft EIR and released a Revised Draft EIR for public review on December 5, 2012. A public workshop on the Revised Draft EIR was held on December 17, 2011 and an Environmental Hearing was held on January 23, 2013. The public review period for the Revised Draft EIR closed on February 13, 2013. All comments received on the Revised Draft EIR have been responded to in the Response to Comments section of the proposed Final EIR. Where appropriate, changes have been made to the Revised Draft EIR text in response to comments received, and have been incorporated into the proposed Final EIR.
The proposed project involves drilling four new wells for exploration and production of native gas at the existing La Goleta Storage Field. The produced native gas would be treated and placed into the SoCal Gas transmission pipeline system. The withdrawal of native gas would expand the existing gas storage capacity of 21.5 billion cubic feet by up to 3-5 billion cubic feet. The expanded capacity would provide for future increases in natural gas demand in the SoCal Gas service territory. SoCal Gas has applied for a Revised Development Plan, a Coastal Development Permit, and an Ordinance Amendment to Article II of Chapter 35 of the Santa Barbara County Code (the Coastal Zoning Ordinance) for this project.
Southern California Gas Company operates a natural gas storage field, La Goleta Storage Field, located on More Ranch Road in the Goleta area. SoCal Gas purchases market quality natural gas when prices are low and stores it in a depleted gas reservoir located at the La Goleta. The gas is withdrawn at times of high demand and sold to consumers located in 12 counties in central and southern California.
2011 EIR: In 2009, Energy Division staff found the SoCal Gas project application complete and began environmental review by preparing an initial study. The initial study identified one significant impact to visual resources resulting from the temporary presence of the proposed drilling rig. The Energy Division issued a Notice of Preparation (NOP) for an Environmental Impact Report on February 22, 2010. A Scoping Document was provided as an attachment to the NOP.
The EIR public scoping meeting for the proposed project was held at Goleta City Hall on March 18, 2010. The meeting was lightly attended by the public. Two residents provided verbal comments. One speaker voiced concerns about project noise and vibration, while the other expressed concern about construction traffic on More Ranch Road. Interested agencies and the public provided further comments during the 45-day NOP review period (February 22 to April 12, 2010). Concerns raised in the comments include visual impacts from the drilling rig, noise and vibration, public safety, air quality and water quality. These comments helped to define the scope of the EIR.