Residents of Huasna Valley, east of Arroyo Grande, are celebrating an apparent victory over the oil company Excelaron after the company withdrew an application to drill for oil in the Huasna hills.
Just one day before the company was scheduled to go before the Planning Commission, officials filed a request to withdraw their project from the agenda and withdraw the project completely from the county’s consideration.
The withdrawal followed an allegation by Huasna Valley Association that Excelaron was working in tandem with another oil company that abandoned wells in the area more than 20 years ago.
Ron Skinner, coordinator for the Huasna Valley Association, said, “[The] project withdrawal demonstrates that the democratic process, when driven by concerned citizens, can have a positive impact on any community and its priorities.”
HVA became concerned over the proposal when they found what they thought were numerous inconsistencies in the project. Now the group is seeking a moratorium on drilling in the area until all the old drilling sites are cleaned up.
“Our efforts right now are to try and get the company to be held accountable,” Skinner said. “Twenty years ago, they left a mess, and now they should have to clean it up.”
A representative from Excelaron was not available as of press time.