Aera serious about protecting environment

A recent letter completely mischaracterized Aera Energy’s East Cat Canyon oilfield redevelopment project.

The fact is Aera takes our responsibility to protect the environment very seriously. Every day, our people focus on complying with the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act and thousands of other environmental regulations. But we take our commitment to environmental stewardship even further.

For example, Aera’s water conservation initiative has reduced our company’s freshwater consumption by more than 30 percent in the past five years. The project will undergo comprehensive study through the California Environmental Quality Act review process to ensure that air, water and other resources are protected.

The project includes an oak woodlands restoration and conservation area that will be forever protected from development. No fresh water will be used for oil production, and no hydraulic fracturing will be performed.

As for our project’s economic benefits, it will create hundreds of jobs with good salaries and benefits in Santa Barbara County. It also will generate over a billion dollars in economic activity. And, according to projections from the UC Santa Barbara Economic Forecast we will become one of the largest property taxpayers in the county, contributing more than $250 million in local, state and federal taxes that will support our schools, public safety and other vital services.

Finally, we are serious about being community partners. We recently became sponsors of the Hancock College Promise Program, which provides free tuition to incoming freshmen. Over the past two years we have provided money and volunteers to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara, NatureTrack, Boys & Girls Club, Central Coast Future Leaders (Latino Legacy Awards), Partners in Education, United Way, and the Workforce and Literacy Initiative to name a few.

Aera looks forward to a long and productive relationship with the people and County of Santa Barbara.

Rick Rust

Santa Maria