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B-2 Permit Compliance Effectiveness Process

In the mid-1980s, the County approved five major projects for production, processing, and transporting offshore oil and gas, including the Point Pedernales, Point Arguello, and Santa Ynez Unit projects, the Gaviota Interim Marine Terminal, and the All American Pipeline. Each project carried many permit conditions designed to eliminate or reduce significant impacts to public health and safety and the environment during the project's construction and operations. Several innovative tools evolved either to implement or to monitor and enforce these permit conditions.

The "B-2 provision" in each discretionary permit (also called the II-2 provision for Santa Ynez Unit project) instituted a process to evaluate the effectiveness of the permit conditions in mitigating adverse impacts to the environment over the project's life. It also evaluates the extent to which a permittee has complied with all requirements of the permit. The County may impose additional reasonable conditions to mitigate impacts if existing permit conditions are inadequate or recently proven technological advances provide substantial additional mitigation not available when the project was initially approved.

B-2 evaluations differ in level of effort, depending upon the complexity of a project and the extent to which permittees have complied with conditions. Each evaluation typically begins with a preliminary screening analysis to determine which conditions of the permit are achieving their intended purpose. Conditions not determined to be achieving their purpose are then subject to further in-depth analysis. The County may then select to modify the conditions, or its enforcement of the condition, should this second round of analysis reveal that any condition is not achieving its intended purpose. The findings of each review are subject to a hearing before the Planning Commission.

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