Stop work order lifted on Greka facility if fire protection condition met

County officials have notified Greka Oil and Gas Inc. that a county-issued stop work order will be conditionally rescinded for the company’s UCAL facility at 6527 Dominion Road, near Santa Maria, which was shut down earlier this year.

On Feb. 1, the County Fire Department and the Petroleum Unit of the Planning and Development Department issued a stop work order to Greka shutting down operations at that facility.  The order was issued after county fire and petroleum inspectors were called to the facility in response to reports of wastewater ponds breaching their containment basins and for outstanding violations from previous county inspections performed at the facility on Jan. 17.


Greka has had to correct more than 140 violations at the facility since the stop work order was issued in February.  The county has reported that Greka complied in correcting all of the health and safety violations.

One other Greka production operation, the Bradley 3 Island facility, 3851 Telephone Road, Santa Maria, remains under a stop work order by the county fire department and petroleum unit.

The Aug. 21 notice sent to Greka allows the company to resume pumping oil at the UCAL field provided the company notifies county fire and petroleum inspection staff 24 hours in advance of initiating start-up work and allows county staff to be present during the start-up operations of the facility.


The conditional operating permit was given with the stipulation that a permanent fire protection system must be completed, tested and approved by the county fire department within 180 days of lifting the stop work order at the UCAL facility. Failure by Greka Oil and Gas Inc. to comply with the 180-day limit of the conditional operating permit issued by county fire can result in immediate shut down by the county.



New signals on Foothill

Construction will begin Sept. 15 on new traffic signals for the intersection of Foothill Road and Cieneguitas Road in Santa Barbara.

The construction is estimated to last for about 45 working days, with completion aimed for Nov. 18. The project is a joint undertaking of the Santa Barbara County Department of Public Works, the City of Santa Barbara and the California Department of Transportation.


The goal of the project is to improve pedestrian, vehicle and bicycle safety, according to a statement from Public Works. “The road will remain open at all times, but traffic controls will be in place during construction.” Traffic delays up to 10 minutes can be expected at times during the project. Construction hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday.

In addition to new traffic signals, the project will include sidewalks, Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps with crosswalks, and storm drain facilities.



Judicial candidate forum set

The two runoff candidates for a seat on the Santa Barbara Superior Court will appear at a forum on Sept. 28 at the main Santa Barbara Library.

Candidates Jed Beebe and John McKinnon are vying for the Superior Court seat in Santa Maria left vacant by Judge Diana Hall and filled by retired Judge Zel Cantor until a permanent judge can be elected. The forum will be sponsored by Santa Barbara Women Lawyers in the Faulkner Gallery of the main library.


Jed Beebe is a Superior Court research attorney and John MacKinnon is a deputy district attorney. They are running in the November election to replace Hall, who was removed from the bench in 2005 after being charged with drunk driving and other offenses.

“The legal ethics rules create campaigning restrictions for judicial candidates,” stated Donna Lewis of the women lawyers’ organization. “One side effect of this is that it is more difficult to gather information to make an informed voting decision.”

The forum will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free and open to the public.