Ventura County's environmental watchdogs

• Taking on the oil industry
• Campaigning for clean air and water
• Advocating for the health and safety of our residents 

CFROG has built a team of experts to challenge the status quo with facts and commonsense proposals to fight bad projects that hurt our environment and jeopardize our health.

Our success speaks for itself:

  • Winner of substantial grant from the California Air Resources Board for community air protection project.
  • First to warn about the discovery of petroleum-related gases in Oxnard’s aquifer. Sought and won unanimous Board of Supervisors vote for a moratorium to stop new cyclic steam oil drilling activities in the Oxnard Plain in order to protect our water.
  • Fought to deny an expanded oilfield near a low-income community with a high pollution burden.
  • Strong advocates for the inclusion of a robust climate action plan in Ventura County’s new General Plan.
  • Your effective watchdog on dangerous and dirty oil industry practices.
  • From the blog

    Oxnard fights back against pollution

    Oxnard has long borne more than its share of industrial pollution. While most coastal cities have traditionally kept their coast pristine for residents and tourists, this city’s beaches are marred by power plants and the toxic remnants of the old Halaco plant, now a Superfund site.

    So it is no wonder that this community has risen up twice in the last few months to successfully demand an end to oilfield expansion. It is also not surprising that last year residents stopped a new power plant from being built on the beach — and won. Recently the Port of Hueneme agreed to do a full Environmental Impact Report on a planned expansion, in part due to resident requests.

    Local governments are now more aware of environmental justice issues. According to Communities for a Better Environment, low-income communities of color are at higher risk for asthma, cardiovascular and respiratory disease, cancer, and birth defects. And those same communities tend to be stressed by poverty, unemployment, and inadequate access to health care or healthful food choices.

    Senate Bill 1000, passed in 2016, mandated that cities and counties lessen the impact of pollution on these neighborhoods.

    It is in this context, and with strong grassroots help, that CFROG and its partner organization Food & Water Watch worked to place a moratorium on new cyclic steam oil drilling in the tar sands of the Oxnard Plain on April 23 and helped to stop the expansion of another oilfield nearby on July 23. These actions taken by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors were an unprecedented and welcome move to protect the people of Oxnard.

    Low-income communities surround Oxnard's oil fields. In the July 23 action, Supervisors voted 4-1, with Supervisor Kelly Long dissenting, to have staff draft a resolution to deny the expansion of the Cabrillo Oil Field. Some residents of the Oxnard Pacific Mobile Estates are within 1,660 feet of drilling, and are surrounded by pesticide use in the neighboring fields AND breathe the diesel exhaust from the busy truck route on Highway 1.

    When we contacted these residents to let them know of the impending new oil wells in their back yard, they told us that nobody listens to them.

    We are happy to report that this time somebody did.

    Read more

    General plans: blueprints for our future

    Can a small climate-oriented nonprofit make a dent in the world's most urgent problem?

    You bet.

    We subscribe firmly to Margaret Mead's theory that a thoughtful band of citizens is always the beginning of every movement. The push for policies that will slow the catastrophic effects of climate change needs to begin everywhere and at once.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly warned that we have only a few years in which to make a rapid transition away from our reliance on fossil fuels if we are to preserve even a medium chance of avoiding devastating climate impacts. And what better way than to advocate for policies that affect this transition than general plans, the blueprints for how communities grow?

    We have seen in California that our early, groundbreaking policies to reduce emissions have spread to other states, the nation and the world. The Chinese looked to California policymakers for advice on setting up their own cap and trade program.

    And so we are pushing, and pushing hard for Ventura County's planners to join us in working for real, measurable goals that the county can set and look back on to reduce emissions. We have brought in our experts, including Kevin Bundy, from the prestigious environmental law firm of Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, to comment and instruct local groups on best policies for asking for change. On our advisory board is nationally recognized air quality expert Dr. Steven Colome and he has submitted his own set of comments on our behalf.

    As Dr. Colome wrote, "While the emission reduction goals of the draft General Plan are laudable, and in accord with goals of the State of California, the draft Climate Action Plan is essentially a business-as-usual plan that fails to provide enough emission reduction to meet, or even make a sizable dent, toward the state-mandated climate goals."

    With this in mind, we propose big, bold steps:

    • New oil and gas development should be prohibited and existing oil and gas production should be phased out over the 20-year life of the General Plan.

    • In the absence of a complete prohibition on new wells, the county should require all new oil wells and proposed expansion of existing wells to apply for discretionary permits which will provide more complete oversight under the California Environmental Quality Act.

    We've asked for many changes — including in the Ojai Valley which is in non-compliance for both state and federal air quality standards — and you can find them here and here.

    If you want to submit your own comment, go here.

    Read more