Photo by Heather Hudson

Photo by Heather Hudson

Summerland Beach was a scene of great joy this morning (Monday, February 26, 2018), as the barge from Curtin Maritime, Long Beach, arrived to the coastline and positioned itself to lower the construction equipment to cap the infamous leaking Becker Well. Heal the Ocean was there to confer with State Lands Commission officials, who were watching the operation from Lookout Park, and to discuss future operations to follow on the other offshore/underwater wells.

Under SB 44 (Hannah-Beth Jackson), there will be $2 million per year to tackle leaking, derelict wells and structures along the California Coast. To prepare for specific projects, and with funds provided by Manitou Fund, Minnesota, HTO hired Aqueos, Ventura, to conduct an aerial survey of the wells offshore Summerland. The results of the aerial survey identified four distinct wells, and HTO’s plan with Aqueos has been to follow that survey with a dive survey, so that offshore contractors can know exactly the requirements to cap these underwater structures.

We learned today while watching the Becker operation that part of the Becker project is a requirement for an underwater survey, to ensure that the capping is complete. State Lands petroleum drilling engineer Steve Curran told us this morning that there is enough funding from Becker to not only do the underwater examination of this well – but the others, too. That saves HTO a lot of money…which will go to other cleanup projects we have on our plate, courtesy of Manitou Fund. We thank Michael and Nora McNeely Hurley of Manitou for this invaluable support. The Hurleys were at the Becker capping today, and there were many reasons to celebrate.