Case History

Gaviota Coast, Santa Barbara County. © 2008, Aroyan

Since 1977, EDC has been winning victories for the local environment and the public interest in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.  What makes EDC unique is that we offer our technical, scientific and legal expertise to support the efforts of over 80 other organizations in the tri-counties area.  We represent groups before governmental agencies, in court, and in the public forum in order to help them enforce existing environmental protection laws, advance policy, and educate the public and decision-makers.  Learn more about EDC’s history, and review the list of our client groups, by downloading our 35th Anniversary Case Docket, produced in 2012. 

A review of some of our key successes provides an overview of the depth and breadth of EDC’s work to protect wildlife, open space, human health, and the coastline of our tri-county area.

In the 1970s, EDC:

  • Represented groups opposed to Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant
  • Helped defeat the proposed liquefied natural gas facility at Point Conception
  • Forced Vandenberg Air Force Base to comply with federal environmental review laws regarding waste disposal, road construction and monitoring

In the 1980s, EDC:

  • Successfully stopped the expansion of the Petrochem Oil Refinery in Ventura County and established state precedent requiring local agencies to consider cumulative air quality impacts
  • Established a legal precedent requiring land use agencies to consider alternative sites for development (Hyatt) and established a $5 million land trust
  • Preserved open space at Mackie Mountain and forced the County to amend its General Plan to protect groundwater resources
  • Established precedent of requiring traffic fees to mitigate project impacts
  • Preserved the 5,000 acre Burton Mesa Chaparral
  • Saved Taylor Ranch from development
  • Convinced the County of Santa Barbara to adopt strict policies for offshore oil and gas development
  • Protected open space and public access at Oxnard Shores
  • Saved the Arroyo Burro Trail and Hammonds Beach access from closure
  • Ensured the closure of the Casmalia toxic waste dump
  • Defeated ARCO’s attempt to install three new platforms off the coast of UCSB

In the 1990s, EDC:

  • Helped preserve the Wilcox property (Douglas Family Preserve), Sedgwick Ranch and Carpinteria Bluffs
  • Defeated the Mobil Clearview oil project at Elwood
  • Settled lawsuit requiring the National Park Service to protect natural resources at Santa Rosa Island
  • Required the University of California to mitigate impacts from its proposed long range development plan
  • Helped stop development of a massive landfill in Ojai
  • Secured the protection of dozens of endangered and threatened plant and animal species, including the red-legged frog, tidewater goby, fairy shrimp, Channel Island plants, maritime chaparral plants, southwestern arroyo toad, southwestern willow flycatcher, California tiger salamander, and western snowy plover
  • Forced EPA to establish an air quality plan for Ventura County
  • Developed and lead a public education effort regarding the health and environmental harm caused by methyl bromide
  • Launched the Central Coast Environmental Health Project, providing pesticide awareness education in the tri-counties
  • Defeated the Isla Vista seawall
  • Required lead paint warnings and removal in local rental housing
  • Convinced the Coastal Commission to reject the North Coast Area Plan, leading to the permanent preservation of the East-West Ranch in Cambria and forestalling Hearst’s development plans at San Simeon
  • Assisted Sen. O’Connell in drafting and passing the California Coastal Sanctuary Act, permanently banning oil and gas leasing in state waters
  • Drafted Measure A96, which requires voter approval of any new oil and gas facilities in Santa Barbara County
  • Obtained wetlands protection for flood control projects along the Santa Ynez River
  • Drafted anti-State Water ballot measures in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties
  • Helped protect Ventura River from flood control and diversion proposals
  • Convinced Congress to study options for protecting the Gaviota Coast
  • Sued to challenge Kendall-Jackson’s removal of 850 oak trees, drafted Measure K and worked with County to develop better protections for oak trees

In the 2000s, EDC has:

  • Preserved Ellwood Mesa from development threat
  • Won litigation challenging the Newhall Ranch project in Ventura
  • Achieved additional protection for Wild and Scenic Rivers in the tri-counties
  • Achieved additional mitigation for development projects in San Luis Obispo County
  • Protected oak woodlands in northern San Luis Obispo County
  • Led the successful state-wide legal fight against federal offshore oil leases
  • Launched the Santa Barbara ChannelKeeper
  • Secured additional protection for snowy plovers in Santa Barbara County, and sued for enhanced protection at Oceano Dunes
  • Filed a lawsuit that helped shut down one of the worst polluters in the state, the Halaco plant in Ventura County
  • Achieved additional protection for Mission Creek from proposed development and flood control projects
  • Stopped the proposed Cabrillo Port liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, which would have been one of the largest air polluters in Ventura County
  • Protected the San Luis Obispo County coast from unfettered development at the Hearst Ranch
  • Worked with the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and California Department of Fish and Game to establish the largest network of marine reserves (underwater parks) in the country
  • Won a court decision requiring CA Department of Pesticide Regulations to reconsider methyl bromide exposure levels for workers and neighbors
  • Won lawsuit maintaining protections for the endangered California tiger salamander, an important wetland species in Santa Barbara County
  • Authored reports for consideration by the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent (following formal endorsement by the Sanctuary Advisory Council) regarding underwater noise, water quality, open ocean aquaculture, and ocean acidification; received NOAA’s Sanctuary “Partner of the Year” award for our work on ocean acidification
  • Negotiated settlement agreement with the University of California, Santa Barbara that resulted in permanent preservation of open space and coastal habitats next to Devereux Slough
  • Stopped harmful erosion control projects at Goleta Beach and convinced County to consider solutions that will not rob downcoast beaches of sand
  • Co-founded the Ag Futures Alliance programs in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties as a means to bring agriculturalists, environmentalists and other stakeholders together to further common goals
  • Lead Central Coast Environmental Health Project efforts to protect farmworkers from exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Defeated Torch/Nuevo’s application to expand drilling from Platform Irene in northern Santa Barbara County
  • Supported plan to restore San Jose Creek
  • Drafted successful initiative reinforcing Buellton’s urban limit line by requiring voter approval before City can expand services beyond existing boundaries
  • Secured grant to help City of Santa Barbara restore lower Mission Creek and enhance steelhead habitat
  • Launched OPEN (Open-space Preservation and Education Network) to work with agriculturalists and environmentalists in effort to preserve rural open space lands in Santa Barbara County
  • Published first “Buy Fresh Buy Local Food Guide” for Santa Barbara, Ventura and northern Los Angeles Counties
  • Helped secure rural protection policies in the Santa Ynez Community Plan

In the 2010s, EDC:

  • Protected threatened sea otters by forcing Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider rule creating a “no otter” zone from Pt. Conception to the Mexican border
  • Forced Venoco to withdraw its proposal to expand oil drilling offshore Ellwood
  • Helped community groups defeat a ballot measure that would have allowed Venoco to build a new drilling rig in Carpinteria
  • Successfully advocated for establishment of marine protected areas along California’s southern coast
  • Defeated the proposed Clearwater Port LNG project, proposed offshore Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties
  • Worked with the Goodland Coalition to protect Bishop Ranch and preserve urban agriculture in Goleta





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