An ambitious plan to tear down the Matilija Dam has received a boost, after Texaco agreed to supply $500,000 for study of dam removal as part of a settlement of a federal pollution case against the oil company.
Supervisor John Flynn said the money is a good sign that there is support for removal of the dam, which is filled with silt and which blocks endangered steelhead trout from prime spawning grounds.
"It shows there's a continuous supply of money for projects," Flynn said.
Texaco's contribution will be part of about $4 million from a variety of sources--including the Bureau of Reparation and the Army Corps of Engineers--that will pay for the county study. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will use the Texaco funds for its portion of the study.
Texaco agreed to a $4.5-million fine for discharging oil and grease-laden waste water into Dominguez Channel in Los Angeles in 1995 and several thousand gallons of contaminated waste water into a creek in San Luis Obispo in March. The dam study is one of several environmental projects in California to be supported by the settlement.
"It's a great partnership and it's a great place to put that money," said Paul Jenkin of the Matilija Coalition.