How many spills need to occur before Ventura County takes action?
Remember, a pipeline leak just occurred and clean up in a residential area - steps away from a high school - is underway, with new information coming to light that the oil seeped many feet into the soil. Residents in that area - who were unaware of the pipeline behind their homes - are getting organized.
We know that fires, floods and earthquakes can wreak havoc with pipelines, doesn't it make sense that Ventura County have vital information at their finger tips in the event of an emergency so that pipelines can be check to protect public health and safety? Here are a few photos from the Hall Canyon area - where the Crimson pipeline leak occured in late June 2016. These photos show the damage from fire and flooding in 2005- and the potential for pipeline damage. Here is a list of questions prepared by residents who live on the street next to the natural water way where the oil spilled.
Photos by: Robert Louis Chianese
Today the Ventura County Board of Supervisors will be considering comments by Supervisor Steve Bennett regarding suggested changes to the Command Center Protocol when spills occur. We wholeheartedly support his positions, especially that the operator involved in a spill should not be included in the command central response. CFROG also supports the recommendations regarding policy put forward by Supervisor Steve Bennett - That policy document is HERE.
This afternoon (July 19, 2016) the Ventura County Board of Supervisors is being asked to accept a report prepared by the County Executive Office and Resource Management Agency (Planning) regarding the Grand Jury Report on aging pipelines in the County. That REPORT was presented in April of this year following Refugio oil spill in Goleta.
That report stated -
"The County’s responsibility over oil pipelines has two components:
- The permitting function for a significant portion, but not all, of the pipelines in its unincorporated areas
- First responder in the event of a spill
The Grand Jury found that no single government entity has a complete grasp of critical information such as test history, test validity, and risks associated with the total pipeline array in the County. That information does exist but is spread among multiple government entities. The information is available to the County if it chooses to access it.
However, the Grand Jury found that the County does not have a thorough understanding of the state of the total crude oil pipeline array within the County.
The Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors require the development of an annual report which summarizes the state of the crude oil pipelines within the County. This report should identify those pipelines with risks discovered during testing, as well as the risks associated with pipelines that have not been tested/verified by a third party or observer as required by the governing regulations. It should also identify those pipelines not in compliance with the conditions imposed by the Conditional Use Permits and summarize the spill events and their causes since the last report."
CFROG fully supports the findings and recomendation of the Grand Jury.
On Friday, the County RMA and Executive Office released THIS REPORT - as a response to the Grand Jury Report. That report will be presented to the Board of Supervisors TODAY for acceptance.
While many agencies may have authority over pipelines, the County has a duty to be informed and to fully understand the state of all oil and gas pipelines within it boundaries. This is part of their duty to protect public health and safety. If the County completes such a report and does in fact find instances of lack of oversight, the County will then have the ability to put pressure on the state regulatory agencies to ensure the pipelines are properly maintained.
NOTE- CFROG has submitted a Public Records Act Request with the California State Fire Marshall for information regarding the
maintenance and inspected records of the Crimson V-10 pipeline.