SANTA MARIA - The Santa Maria Energy Company project calls for more than 130 production oil wells to be connected to pipelines and other equipment at a location just south of the Santa Maria Valley in the Orcutt Hills area.
The project calls for an extraction process known as cyclic steam injection, not fracking, and would generate major greenhouse gas emissions from the production.
Santa Maria Energy is now trying to mitigate the greenhouse gas emission issue while it pursues a county operating permit.
The Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District is playing a role in the permit process, and Lompoc City Council Member Ashley Costa is an APCD Board member and an employee of Santa Maria Energy.
"I take conflict of interest very seriously", Costa tells Central Coast News, "when I was elected to the Lompoc City Council in 2010, I received ethics training that covered the Fair Political Practices Commission without conflict of interest."
Costa says despite her employment with Santa Maria Energy, there is no conflict with her staying in the unpaid, appointed role on the APCD Board representing the City of Lompoc.
"I also regularly consult with Lompoc's City Attorney and Santa Barbara County Counsel who advise the APCD concerning these FPPC regulations", Costa says, "I'm confident that I do not have a conflict of interest with any of the matters that I have voted on as an APCD Board member or Lompoc City Council member."
The APCD Board is made up of unpaid, appointed representatives from cities and special districts in Santa Barbara County.
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