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CFROG Wins! Ventura County oil and gas project approval violated local and state laws.
By John Brooks
CFROG co-founder and Board member
Ventura County Superior Court judge, Hon. Glen M. Reiser not only criticized the majority vote of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors for sidestepping analysis and mitigation in the name of expediency in an Upper Ojai Valley oil and gas project, he also held Ventura County planning staff responsible for misrepresenting facts and stated staff showed a deep seated feeling of dislike to the concerns of local residents.
Citizens For Responsible Oil & Gas (CFROG) filed legal action in 2016 against Ventura County because the planning department, and ultimately the Board of Supervisors - in a three to two vote - approved a project adding three new wells and allowing oil tanker trucks to use a narrow rural road and bridge in the Upper Ojai Valley. CFROG knew the county violated policies of the Ojai Valley Area Plan, part of the county General Plan, that mandate any project that will emit over 5 lbs. per day of particular air toxins be found to have a “significant” impact thus triggering a more in-depth environmental review. And the county had failed to explain why with increased and faster traffic, and more trucks servicing more oil and gas wells in the area resulted in a safer intersection today, whereas in the 70’s the county prohibited oil tanker trucks from using Koenigstein Road because they deemed it unsafe.
Here is a video prepared by county staff showing an oil tanker truck turning onto the road.
In his Nov. 14 ruling in favor of CFROG, Reiser ordered the county to “set aside” the project approval and prepare a “revised” environmental study “consistent with” the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the entire ruling. This means the county must include an analysis of the significant air quality and traffic impacts and alternatives and methods to reduce the impacts for the expansion of the Agnew Lease.
This decision will have powerful ripple effects for all oil and gas permit modifications and renewals in Ventura County and it calls into question the legality of several aspects of how the county planning department processes oil and gas permits.
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Santa Paula -
TONIGHT , Monday, October 2 - at 6:30pm at the Santa Paula City Council meeting, the City Manager of Santa Paula will provide an update of the permit application submitted to Ventura County Planning from companies currently under arraignment by the Ventura County District Attorney - Santa Clara Waste Water and Green Compass - both were involved in the 2014 explosion that led to toxic plumes and injured firefighters.
HERE is the Determination of Application Completeness from Ventura County dated Sept. 20, 2017.
Santa Paula Times article March 22, 2017 - another employee pleads guilty.
LA Times: 37 treated after bizarre explosion. Nov. 19, 2014.
KTLA investigation into explosion continues - Nov. 19, 2014.
Santa Paula Times, 7 arrested in connection with explosion, Aug. 14, 2015.
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About a month ago I submitted a letter to the editor of the VC Star. It was printed on September 11 (it ran online on August 16)
Sept 11, 2017, VC Star Letter to the Editor:
The fossil fuel industry is a major part of Ventura County’s history. That should not prevent smart choices for the future.
The Ventura County tax assessor's statement for 2015-16 revealed an interesting trend. Overall tax assessments increased, but the value of oil- and gas-producing properties declined by 40 percent. This demonstrates that Ventura County can prosper even when the oil industry takes a hit. Why is this important?
CLICK HERE to read the rest online in the VCSTAR.
Photo: Kimberly Rivers, CFROG and Tomas Rebecchi, FWW at the September 7 VC Planning Commission hearing regarding the expansion of the Cabrillo Oil Field without cumulative health impacts study. We are appealing to the Board of Supervisors.
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We need to raise $3000 in one week to take the fight for
Environmental Justice in Oxnard to our local elected officials!
Last Thursday the majority of Ventura County Planning Commissioners put their concerns about impacts to the local oil and gas industry ahead of public health. The Commission voted to approve the project in Oxnard as presented rather than send back to planning staff for a cumulative health impact review so the risks to residents of the local disadvantaged community can be assessed.
The a cumulative impact study has NEVER been conducted for the expansion of the Cabrillo Oil Field!
First wells were drilled in 1986, no cumulative impact study.
CFROG is your local watchdog, monitoring these permit applications and enforcing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). There is no agency tasked with enforcing this vital set of laws. It is only enforced through project appeals and legal action when needed. CFROG will appeal this decision and it will be heard by the Board of Supervisors. But we need your support.
Will you help CFROG continue our work?
A donation of any amount will have a major impact. And when you share your personal fundraising goal with your friends - you help CFROG even more.
We have set a goal of $3000 to raise this week - with your help we can fund the appeal and other costs for our outreach and ongoing work.
DONATE TO CFROG TODAY to support our appeal and work for Environmental Justice In Oxnard!
Photo: What are the potential risks of pipelines crossing agricultural fields? This has not been assessed for the Cabrillo Oil Field. This photo was taken at the Cabrillo Oil Field the signs are for the pipelines that connect the Naumann and Rosenmund drill sites. This photo was shown by CFROG at the hearing and when asked about it the operator said it was not at any of their sites - that is not accurate. If you look closely at the signs they read "Renaissance Petroleum" as the responsible party for the pipelines which go under the roads and cross prime farmland. This was taken during the 2016-17 winter rains.