CFROG is reviewing the current application for a permit modification application (PL15-0187) at the Bentley Limited Family Partnership oil and gas lease, located behind Soule Park Golf Course and accessed via Creek Road in the Ojai Valley.
Hearing on Calendar -
Action Item: July 6, 10am, the public hearing prior to the Planning Director review of the project. This is the opportunity for the public to submit oral comments on the project (in favor and opposed - or questions or concerns) and the hearing is the deadline for submitting written comments. To RSVP to the hearing or submit written comments to the county click HERE.
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Project Summary: The applicant is seeking to renew the land use (Conditional Use Permit - CUP) permit for another 20 years.
The permit includes land where a total of 35 oil wells were approved and drilled since 1893. 26 of those wells are either "plugged and abandoned" or "buried." Today, the operator is seeking ongoing operation of nine wells. Six of which have been long idled, (one idle well is labeled as plugged) with three wells labeled as active. Idle wells can be quickly reactivated, while plugged wells require more work to get back to active status.
Idle Wells: CFROG has concerns regarding the long idled wells and we will be looking into the records to ensure the operator is in compliance with the state regarding idle well fees and inspections.
Permit Violation: The application also includes a request to allow the ongoing regular use of a flare to burn off the natural gas that comes up with the wells. Right now, the operator is in violation of it's air emissions permit in that the flare is only allowed for "emergency use" - but the County is allowing the use of the flare during this application process, which is approved will "abate" the violation.
CFROG generally objects to operators being allowed to renew permits after many years of violations - the county must enforce permit conditions. We will be looking into this issue for this permit.
Truck Route: Currently the permit has no restrictions regarding truck traffic and the permit renewal will include restrictions (CFROG is reviewing those now) - but we have concerns that the oil tanker trucks may be using the dangerous Creek Road/Highway 33 intersection. And a full impact assessment of the future traffic, if all wells are active etc. must be included in the project assessment.