press release

Unocal purchases Guadalupe oilfield property; site-wide conservation easement now assured

Guadalupe Calif., July 12, 2002 - Another piece of spectacular California coastline has been acquired for a permanent conservation easement. Unocal has purchased 2,704 acres of the site that was once home to its Guadalupe oilfield operations and is today recognized for its unique dunes eco-system. The stunning piece of coastal ecology, located on the coast of southern San Luis Obispo County (with a small portion in northern Santa Barbara County), is earmarked for a site-wide conservation easement.

The Guadalupe dunes join an impressive linkage of Coastal California properties that have been designated for preservation. The dunes area to both the north and south of the site are largely in public ownership, with numerous additional properties in nearby coastal areas similarly preserved.

In the next step toward creating a conservation easement, Unocal will dedicate a site-wide easement to be held by a public agency or non-profit association approved by the San Luis Obispo County planning director and the executive director of the California Coastal Commission, in consultation with the planning and development director for Santa Barbara County.

The dedication will include conditions that no development or grazing (unless approved as part of habitat restoration) will take place on the property. On-site remediation and restoration efforts will continue. Once the offer to dedicate is adopted, the site will be conserved in perpetuity.

Agreements made between Unocal, San Luis Obispo County and the California Coastal Commission following the discovery of on-site diluent leaks in the 1990's included a requirement for Unocal to attempt to purchase the oilfield property to eventually assure a site-wide conservation easement. Unocal leased the property where its oilfields were located for more than 50 years, but has now finally concluded the purchase of the site.

The Guadalupe site has long been recognized by environmental and conservation advocates for its unique habitat inventory, important cultural resources and stunning vistas. The site has been the subject of extensive ecological surveys, with more than 280 plant and 320 wildlife species (excluding fish and invertebrates) identified. There are a total of 45 plants and animals that have special status listings with state and federal agencies, including the Red-Legged Frog, Snowy Plover, and the La Graciosa Thistle.

According to Gonzalo Garcia, project manager for the Unocal Guadalupe site, the property acquisition is another landmark in Unocal's efforts to responsibly conclude its activities on the Central Coast and provide stewardship for the ecologically rich site.

"This purchase will enable us to dedicate a site-wide conservation easement over the property. We are eager to move ahead to assure permanent preservation of the property," Garcia said.

Updated: July 2002