There won't be any oil and gas extraction at the Arctic National Refuge in Alaska this year, but there will be at the Carrizo Plain, the national monument in the southeastern corner of the county. The Bureau of Land Management received an official "Notice of Staking" from Richard Sawyer of Malibu.
Sawyer has held leases for oil and gas extraction on the plain since 1988, grandfathering him from the current laws prohibiting oil and gas exploration on the plain that were created when President Clinton proclaimed the Carrizo a national monument in 2001. Sawyer's leases represent the last of 18 pre-monument leases. There are other active oil wells at the Carrizo. The land Sawyer holds leases for is at the southern end of the Carrizo in Wells Canyon, north of Highway 166 near Cuyama.
According to a BLM press release, the agency will be responsible for conducting a 30-day processing/review period. The BLM will also be responsible for preparing an Environmental Assessment, which will look at the environmental impacts of drilling. The public can direct comment and request copies of the assessment by writing to the BLM Bakersfield Office, 3801 Pegasus Dr., Bakersfield, CA 93308. For more info and a separate story about the Carrizo Plain, see this week's cover story on page 10.