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Mar 25, 2014 9:23 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Oil field company wants to expand its operations in Price Canyon

The owner of an oil and gas field in the Price Canyon area want to expand their operation. Freeport McMoran currently pumps 5,000 barrels of oil a day out of the area, and now they want to double that number. "We're looking at about two million people coming in annually to Pismo Beach. It's a destination," said Peter Candela, the CEO of Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce. Candela said the oil field may not be a sight tourists seek out, but hopes details of an expansion gets looked at with a fine comb by the county. He said, "One thing you don't want to do is jeopardize your main source of income. And tourism is number one and we would never want anything that would jeopardize that." John McKenzie, the Senior Planner for San Luis Obispo County said, "We're currently right in the beginning process of the environmental impact report, and as a part of that, we'll be looking at the air quality impacts and odor impacts will certainly be one of those issues that we'll look at." Among concerns of increased traffic and water issues, some have complained about a foul odor that comes from the drilling at the field. "Really haven't had a whole lot of topic about it or complaints through our visitor's center and through our kiosk that's on the pier," said Candela. Freeport McMoran, a natural resources company based out of Phoenix, Arizona, said the environmental impact report will review all environmental aspects, including naturally occurring odors in the field. The company wants to install 350 new wells and replace 100 existing ones. Freeport McMoran also said they have a plan to install the wells over time to minimize the impact in the area at any one point. County officials said an environmental impact report draft could be out by the end of the year, and then the Planning Commission would have to grant the project a permit. Freeport McMoran said an expansion of its production could lead to 50 to 60 new jobs and some additional tax revenue for the county.

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