Monitoring and Mitigating the Socioeconomic Impacts of Coastal Oil and Gas Development

by Michael G. Powers, Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


Santa Barbara County has required that all companies engaged in major offshore oil and gas projects participate in a Socioeconomic Monitoring and Mitigation Program (SEMP). Yearly impact monitoring reports, commencing in 1986, are prepared based on extensive surveys of project related employees and expenditures of operating companies and contractors. Separate impact reports are prepared for each of three affected counties. The reports, which detail in-migrant population increases and public service demands for each community within each county, are then distributed to impacted public service providers such as school districts, water and sewer districts, and cities. Mitigation claims are submitted and claims are settled following negotiations between representatives of the effected agencies and energy companies. County staff serve to facilitate the negotiation process. As of October 1990, the value of mitigation payments totaled $2 million. This paper reports on the origin, structure, and current status of this effort. Special attention is given to: 1) innovation in the development of mitigation formulas, and, 2) lessons we have learned as a result of this new approach to socioeconomic impact assessment and mitigation.

Subject Headings: Mitigation and remediation | Social factors | Economic factors | Offshore platforms | Wells (oil and gas) | Public services | Project management

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