Over ten years ago, a group of like-minded Huasna neighbors banded together to challenge oil extraction plans put forward by foreign-owned oil companies. The Huasna Valley Association (HVA) was formed for the second time in 30 years to challenge oil development. The new HVA got to work building plans, working with the county and encouraging involvement from other concerned citizens. The oil development plan unfolded to included 12 oil wells, re-injection of tainted water, diesel generators, and trucking oil down Huasna Road. The resulting environmental impact report showed that the Huasna Valley would experience new noises, lights, traffic, smells and risk of fire that would forever change the rural community. All while the oil companies began leasing thousands of acres of mineral rights for future development in the Huasna area.
The HVA, faced the need to accept donations necessary for the challenge and protect group activities with insurance coverage, formed a non-profit called The Huasna Foundation. The Foundation always intended to not only represent community interests in the valley, but along the corridor of Huasna Road as well.
Our community was successful challenging oil development in Huasna Valley and in addition able to work with SLO County, the State and local community members to clean up abandoned and leaking oil wells. The credit for contributing to the preservation of Huasna Valley and its surrounding areas belongs to the many who sacrificed their valuable time and money to organize these efforts. Residents of our community, living without the impacts of oil development today, owe thanks to the many who stood-up for the belief that oil extraction does not belong in the Huasna Valley.
The continued operations of The Huasna Foundation has enabled community communications at first with email notifications, a directory and website, and now with NextDoor.com. The Foundation has worked with county officials on road and utilities impacts, and stood in defiance of other new threats to the community.
On January 17, 2018 the board of directors for The Huasna Foundation determined that the organization’s work had run its course and agreed to dissolve the corporation. The Huasna Valley and Huasna Corridor may not be under threat of oil development today, but we should all be vigilant and prepared for a time when we’ll all need to once again band together to protect our rural community.
One organization working to eliminate new oil development is the Coalition to Protect San Luis Obispo County (protectSLOcounty.org). This organization is qualifying an initiative for this year’s ballot to ban all new oil wells in the unincorporated areas of our county, including the Huasna Valley. When successful at the 2018 general election, this initiative will have continued the work that both the HVA and The Foundation started many years ago. To learn more, visit the website protectSLOcounty.org.
The Huasna Valley and Huasna Corridor are located in southern San Luis Obispo County. Please visit, respect, and enjoy our beautiful and peaceful community.