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

    Never quit fighting for change

    On Tuesday, the county put the oil and gas industry on notice that environmental oversight matters.

    This is a group that is used to having its way with minimal permitting attention from the county, which has authority to inspect everything above the ground. Below the ground, the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) rules.

    How is this possible? The vast majority of new wells are covered under very old permits for adjacent operations and don’t require modern environmental review. Some permits go back 50-70 years. Some don’t have them at all.

    CFROG has long pushed for these “antiquated Conditional Use Permits” to be scuttled in favor of a process that would ask each applicant to submit to the same review drilling operations without these legacy permits undergo. We are heartened that the county’s legal team now agrees with us.

    Under a staff recommendation, the board voted 4-1, with Supervisor Kelly Long dissenting, to direct county counsel to bring back an ordinance which would provide more oversight. And in a second motion, they asked that a way be found to prevent a run on these types of permits until the ordinance can be finalized.

    The oil industry understands that its days are waning as the march toward renewables proceeds. And in the interim, we believe asking for equal environmental review for all new projects is smart.

    The inspiration to move our economy away from fossil fuels has come from the bold action Californians have taken. We have developed policies that are being emulated around the world. The Chinese asked us for advice before starting their own cap and trade program. Automakers have joined with us in taking a stand for fuel economy against the backward ways of the Trump administration.

    We are the cutting edge. We are leading the pack for the U.S. And we will be proud to tell our grandchildren some day that yes, we saw the planet struggling and we took a stand.

     

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    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.

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