Newsletter #50 – Quickie- Call to Action- Another DOGGR Exec bites the dust

The ongoing DOGGR melodrama continues to unfold.  Steven Bohlen, Director of the Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources ‘resigns’ after just 18 months on the job. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to appoint Ken Harris, executive officer of the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board,

Have no idea what ole Gov is up to but when it comes to this DOGGR saga Jerry is writing the script and taken a vow of silence on how it is all going to end.


Meanwhile back at the ranch
On December 2, 2015, the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources in consultation with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, have provided additional information to the proposed exemption and, therefore, reopened a 15-day supplemental comment period to receive comment on the additional information.
This is where audience participation comes into play, like on the VOICE.
See the attached Notice for further information regarding the Aquifer Exemption proposal.
Our cue to chime in.
email to  Put Supplemental Arroyo Grande Oil Fields  in the subject line

 Dec. 16 5pm  Drop dead date.

So, I know this is getting  tiresome but writing in your concerns, questions, objections is worth the effort I promise you. DOGGR is a mess right now and we should not have to pay for their screw ups. So let DOGGR know what you think despite everything that is going on behind the curtain.

The really critical part of this is;  all our comments become part of the public record and can not be deleted or ignored, bcc yourself a copy of your comments. If they go missing you got the original.

If they don’t address our concerns to our satisfaction then this could very well be the grounds for a lawsuit against DOGGR if it comes to that. Better safe than sorry.  Boy isn’t that the truth?

I just have a few things to say about what has taken place up to this point. And I’ll be quick.


Calling the Arroyo Grande Aquifer impermeable without looking at the earthquake factor is like calling the Titanic unsinkable without looking at the Iceberg factor.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, in fact any 5th grader knows, that when the earth moves every single geological formation known to man is subject to permeability.

And second,

There are a few plot holes that need some explaining.  Are these hearings about protecting an aquifer that was misdiagnosed by DOGGR? Which would mean Freeport is illegally and unlawfully injecting toxic waste into a protected aquifer?  Or is this about Freeport claiming they have a right to dump toxic waste into a protected aquifer because DOGGR said it was o.k.?

DOGGR exempted over 1200 aquifers. All it took to get an exemption was to apply for one. It may be years before we get to the bottom of that quagmire. In the mean time we could certainly take a close look at what happens when impermeable meets permeable. The consequences are never less than catastrophic.

The solution for a catastrophic environmental disaster  is sue the company for damages. In our case we would be  suing Freeport when the impermeable bowl crumbles like a cookie and billions of gallons of illegally injected toxic waste goes anywhere it wants.  Suing is the answer to making everything o.k. It will bring dead people back to life and restore the river and fields to its original condition when the settlement papers are signed. It’s the law.

I don’t think so. Here is what really happens.

Chief executive resigns. Petrobras is facing a corruption scandal and has a mountain of debt. But nobody is going to jail for murder. The company’s license is not revoked. The beat goes on. That’s the solution.

Now it is dead and everything that lived in it and around it.

This river was alive. Now it is dead and everything that lived in it and around it.

This is a look into our future. This is how it could play out here if we let it.  Aquifer is breached.   Freeport exec resigns so he can get booted up the ladder.  Freeport files bankruptcy. Carnage forgiven.  The court ordered ‘clean up’ crew is a team of corporate stealthy lawyers that will proceed to sue the community, the government, the country for being so stupid for believing them.

Freeport’s reputation is world renowned. We should pay attention. Stockholders are bailing. Never a good sign.

Lawsuits against Freeport for environmental health and safety violations abound. A history of  criminal, corrupt  activity world wide and yet we are dealing with them here like they are pillars of the community. We roll out the red carpet, give them center stage with a spotlight, our leaders break  rules so they have all the time they need to shine.  WE, the residents, are shushed.

If you don’t like the way this is going let DOGGR know.  Ask questions, make comments, express every concern you have about this ‘exemption’.  We are making our case.

We can write our own ending to this story and we are.  We are not waiting to read about Freeport’s, DOGGR’s. EPA or Gov. Brown’s version of how this is going to end.  We are writing our own ending and that will be covered in the next installment of life in the SLO lane coming out the first of the year. History in the making. Very exciting.

Deadline for comments Dec. 16. email to  Put Supplemental Arroyo Grande Oil Fields  in the subject line

In solidarity and love join the

Oil train Action: 
This Saturday at 11 at the Jennifer St bridge/Los Osos St. SLO train station


Draw The Line Against Fossil Fuels

On December 12th, thousands of activists will take to the streets as the Paris Climate Summit wraps up. A livable climate is a red line that can’t be compromised or…
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Newsletter #32 Where is all the water going that we are conserving?

Quick update on the Rally in Santa Barbara yesterday.  Activist “owned Santa Barbara today.”
Next,Just heard this on Pandora (actually my son heard it and passed it on).

City of San Luis is putting on a Water Forum at the Ludwig Center Thursday May 28 5pm-8pm Discussion  Water: Fact or Fiction @ 6:30.  There wasn’t a speaker agenda so don’t really know who is talking about what. I will have a couple of questions though. Maybe you do too.Where is all the water going that we are conserving? 20% cutback in home usage could add up to millions of gallons. Will that buy us some time? NASA reported we only have 10 months of stored water left.  20% saved could buy us a couple of months of water. And how exactly are we going to collect on all this saved water?

I would hate to think that I am saving this water for a rainy day and it ends up going to someone who didn’t save a drop. I am thinking new construction and worst yet our precious saved water is going to a non essential, secondary, industrial production like oil drilling that is asking for a 3 fold increase in its water usage.  And that leads to the bigger question what about the county and all the water in the unincorporated areas? I’ll get to that in a moment.

The other question is about the fines for wasting water $500? Who collects those fines and where does the money go?  General Fund? Water fund? Utility company? Maybe these questions will be answered. I hope so. Here’s the link for more info.
water forum
And remember Denton,Texas where Fracking first began and they just passed an ordinance to ban it?

Local ban nullified by state; fracking resumes in Denton

“As for the grass-roots fight in Denton against fracking, Frack Free Denton President Adam Briggle said that will continue.

We cannot say how this story will unfold, but we do know this dark chapter shall not be the last one written,” he said.”

Believe it or not this ruling is very helpful in the construct of our next move here in SLO county. But I am truly sorry to hear about Denton. We might send them some words of encouragement and support. We are all in this together so here’s a  Frack Free Denton link to let them know we care and are pulling for them.

Think our next move is a countywide moratorium on non essential water use for oil extraction. Non essential water use is defined as: water uses that are not essential nor required for the protection of public, health, safety, and welfare. Under this definition, irrigation of landscape areas, including parks, athletic fields, and golf courses, washing cars, washing down sidewalks, filling swimming pools, fountains are non essential use and restricted or moratoriums issued.

Some of these protocols have already been implemented in cities and counties across the State.  But there is one very blaring, critical omission on this list of non essential water use. Water used to extract oil.

Since there is no mention of water used to extract oil and in particular oil extraction that is exempt from the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts, we need to add that to the list of non essential water use and implement a moratorium on it.

Currently Freeport at the Arroyo Grande Oil Fields is extracting 384,600,000 gallons of fresh water that is used to extract a hazardous and toxic product, oil and the water used is then reclassified as a hazardous waste because it came in contact with benzene, radioactive isotopes, hydrogen sulfide, etc and poses a real threat to the safety, health and well being of all water. The threat is, this hazardous waste is re injected back into the ground where it can infect the essential ground water. And once the water is infected life gets very very difficult and not fun real fast.

The Board of Supervisors is the lead agency and has the final say on this issue of essential and non essential water use in the unincorporated areas of this county.  The final say –  a moratorium issued on non essential water use to extract oil within San Luis Obispo County.There is just so much water to go around, this is an emergency situation and it needs an emergency response.  A moratorium that plugs up a loophole and secures our water for essential use is an appropriate first response to an emergency.   And, it is not a ban on fracking or oil drilling. It is a moratorium on non essential water use. And, it is following the Gov.’s order to cutback and conserve water and to treat every drop like it was our last.

If you agree this is what needs to happen here sign the petition share it like crazy with friends, enemies, strangers and then wait to get the all-hands-on-deck call to the Board of Supervisors meeting to delivery it.Click here to add your name:

EMERGENCY MORATORIUM on non-essential stored water use for oil extraction

I will have the petition to sign at the premier showing of Split Estate  this Tuesday May 26, 7-9 pm at the Steynberg Gallery and also at the Community Water Forum on Thursday 5-8pm at the Ludwig center.
Hearing faints sounds from the fat lady in the wings tuning up.
Making memories on this Memorial Day 2015.
Best Always,

Newsletter #24 All Hands on Deck.

Update First:  Reskilling event an affair to remember. A tribute to the generosity and abundance of a community enriched by the simple act of sharing.


Well attended. A lot of interest in the Grand Jury Citizen complaint. Handed out 40 complaints and collected 60 more signatures on the petition. Took pics. I was going to post but a techno thing, something about initializing, scary stuff, kept coming up when I tried to download.  Another problem for another day.

Very proud to be part of this event and I think it has all the earmarks of being an annual celebration of the unique and diverse spirit that binds a community together.

Thank you Transition Towns. You done your community proud!!!
Now about the all hands on deck.


Two important things:


First: As of yesterday closing in on 25 complaints filed with the Grand Jury. That is really good.  WE are aiming for spectacular. Everyone that has signed the petition should file a complaint.
Since we presented the Board of Supervisors on May 20th with petitions signed by over 5,000 people calling for a countywide ban on Fracking and letters from 3 municipalities representing over 69,000 people and organization sign on letters with over 500 members that’s a total of over 74,000 people asking the Board of Supervisors to adopt a countywide ban on Fracking.  A draft resolution was presented to them for their consideration.  The Board has never responded. It has been 6 months.


There was an agenda item on Sept 23 # 30 titled Report on hydraulic fracturing and staff recommendation. We attended in hopeful anticipation of a response to our petitions.

Much to our dismay and disappointment the subject matter was NOT a response to the petitioners.  Quite the opposite in fact.  It served as an invitation to the oil industry to make their case why the Board should approve the pending permits.

And to reintegrate the agenda item and staff report quite intentional and deliberately deleted any reference to the petitioners and the resolution. We regard these tactics by the Board to be unbecoming, lacking integrity and respect for the residents and citizens.
WE have repeatedly and respectfully asked the Board in public comment sessions to acknowledge and respond to the petitioners. They have ignored every request.


The Board is treating these petitions, sign on letters, official letters from municipalities as if they don’t matter and are of no consequence. And they don’t seem to care at all about our concerns and feel quite confident that there is nothing we can do about it.

That was a recap of why we are filing a citizens complaint against the SLO Board of Supervisors. The primary function of the grand jury is to examine all aspects of local government, ensuring that the county is being governed honestly and efficiently. Deliberating ignoring the concerns of the citizens and residents in their charge is not conductive to efficient and honest governing.


Citizen complaint to the Grand Jury is asking the Grand Jury to serve a notice on the Board of Supervisors instructing the Board to 1) answer the petitions and letters within 2 weeks of receiving the notice and at the same time 2) to put the resolution to adopt a countywide ban on all exempted enhanced, unconventional oil extraction process otherwise referred to as Hydraulic Fracturing in SLO county to a vote.

WE need to also ask the Grand Jury to please expedite our complaint and prioritize it for immediate action.  Otherwise they may wait until the end of the year to just include it in their report.


I have posted the complaint on the web site  SLO Clean Water Action. Org.  Right hand column.  Fill it out online, print, sign, put it a stamped envelope and mail it.  All the information and instructions are there.  It will take about 15 minutes, 20 minutes if you have to look for a stamp. Lets extend this get-the-complaint-to-the-Grand -Jury to Nov. 21.  Do it now and it’s a done deal.    That’s it.  We wait, but not for long, to hear back from the Grand Jury.

Thank you Lanny H for helping me set up the page.

Next very important call to action that needs our attention:


NIPOMO SPUR.  Like fracking the Spur expansion in Nipomo would adversely impact every community in San Luis Obispo. Trains, as many as 5 a day and over a mile and half long, carrying explosive, flammable, volatile and hazardous materials would come within feet of our schools, businesses, busy thoroughfares, open spaces, rivers, streams from Paso to Nipomo.  The trains have derailed, many in recent months.  It is always a major disaster and the impact on the community always devastating.




Like so many civic minded, caring, committed residents in SLO county another grassroots volunteer group, The Mesa Refinery Watch, has formed to insure we don’t get short changed and our concerns regarding this expansion are heard and documented. They follow and attend the tedious, confounding, public meetings, review the reports because we can’t always be there and someone has to do it.

Well, the time has come for us to all show up and get counted. According to the MRWG a very important, crucial meeting is taking place on Nov. 24 and the Board of Supervisors and Planning commission need to hear from us.  I trust MRWG knows what they are talking about when they say it is crucial and to contact the Board Now.

So here are the steps they have recommended we take right now.



Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors email addresses are listed below.  You can select them all at once and paste them into the BCC line (Blind Carbon Copy) with one command.


Here is the “Guide To Sending Emails & Letters In Opposition To The P66 Rail Terminal Project”

as provided by the MRWG (Mesa Refinery Watch Group) for “Derail the Spur”.

things to think about



Quanity counts.


Here are some talking points.


Has to be postmarked by no later than NOV. 24 that’s next Monday.


Ironic I think that we are all counting on the Board to extend us the courtesy of acknowledging and responding to these emails.  But they may choose to ignore us again as they have in the past. This is where our Grand Jury complaint comes in handy and serves everyone.  Forcing the Board to do its job and recognize our petitions would certainly extend such a notice to all groups expecting and entitled to the same courtesy.

We are all in this together AND Together we shall prevail. This flyer kind of says it all about what we are up against when it comes to oil. Whether its Oil tankers, Fracking oil wells, or oil Pipelines. It all stinks.


We don’t need no stinking pollution.



Now announcements and updates.


But first a correction.  I had neglected to include The Citizens Climate Lobby in the list of sign on organizations.  Sorry folks.


If you would like your organization to be included in the call for a countywide ban on Fracking sign on here.  I will make sure the Board gets it.
And really pleased and proud to announce Heidi Harmon is San Luis Obispo point person for SLO Clean Water Action. 



Mark Friday Nov. 21 5pm-9pm  on your calendar. You are all cordially invited to an Open House and Inauguration of 150-foot frieze at the SLO Grange created and choreographed by Ken Haggard and local artist Carol Paulson. It’s historical. And a real treat for history buffs as Ken will explain.  There will be light refreshments, mingle with the artists and topping off the evening with some music and a swinging dance floor. Just fun. Come on down.  Contact #  SLO Grange 805-543-0639.

All for now,