Residents of Huasna Valley, a pastoral valley east of Arroyo Grande, say they are disappointed after the County Planning Department issued a “mitigated negative declaration,” instead of requiring a more strenuous Environmental Impact Report, for a proposed oil operation in the area. A fledgling oil company with backers in Australia and Canada, Excelaron, has applied for a conditional use permit with the county for four new oil wells.
The Huasna Valley Association, comprised of Huasna and Arroyo Grande residents, was requesting an EIR. They said such a review would take into account the cumulative effects of drilling, as well as alternatives for moving the oil out of the valley. HVA member Ron Skinner said the group will appeal the decision.
“We’re concerned that they’re piecemealing the project,” Skinner said, explaining residents worry “that they’re presenting a much smaller project to get their foot in the door and get a conditional use permit.”
Huasna's project coordinator Kit Mattlik said the decision was the result of a multi-agency review: “All of those agencies found no instances of significant negative impacts that can't be mitigated."
The project will go before the county Planning Commission March 26.