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:

    • 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 successfully deny an expanded oilfield near a low-income community with a high pollution burden.
    • Put oil companies on notice with a long-sought vote by the Board of Supervisors to bring all new projects under modern environmental review.
    • Supported  the inclusion of a robust climate action plan in Ventura County’s new General Plan.
    • Administered a successful community air monitoring program in low-income communities.

Announcing our partnership with environmental leader Patagonia


From now through December 31, 2019, Patagonia will match all donations made to CFROG through its Action Works program. We're proud that this company, which gives generously to organizations working to protect our environment, has put its faith in us.

Can you help us today with a donation?

  • From the blog

    Controversy at the old Petrochem site continues



    A long-standing concern for Climate First: Replacing Oil & Gas has been the issue of what to do with land which has been contaminated with the remnants of oil and gas infrastructure. It's a problem we will need to tackle as we transition away from fossil fuels.

    The motley history of the now abandoned Petrochem site just north of Ventura has for decades given city and county officials pause when mulling future uses. From its inception in the 1950s as a fertilizer manufacturer, to a later use as a refinery for crude oil which processed 20,000 barrels a day and stored hundreds of thousands more in tanks, the property has been controversial.

    An industrial accident at the site in 1978 killed one worker and injured four others. According to a letter written to the Planning Commission in 1983 by a worker, “Spills and mechanical breakdowns were so common that we employees would play games to see who could predict the next one.”

    The site was finally shuttered in 1984 after Citizens to Preserve the Ojai stopped plans for an expansion claiming it was an environmental hazard. The Environmental Protection Agency ordered a cleanup which was largely completed in 2014, but questions remain on the thoroughness of the effort. 

    CFROG is encouraged when we see projects like Cenergy’s proposal for a solar farm on a former Superfund site near Fillmore. The area was once home to a Texaco refinery. We also applaud a proposal just north of the Petrochem site by the Trust for Public Land for a restoration of native riparian habitat.

    But the Montecito owner of this property has proposed housing, which was shot down by the Board of Supervisors in 2018, and now an auto and contractor equipment storage yard.

    Activists, including CFROG, packed a small conference room on Oct. 14 to protest the latest proposal during its first hearing. Not only is this a site of questionable environmental safety but it has the compounding problem of its location in a floodplain in the delicate ecosystem of the Ventura River.

    Moreover, emissions from the new vehicle trips proposed would lead straight into the sensitive Ojai Valley, which has its own strict rules for pollution sources due to the unique geological vulnerability of the area.

    Speakers also noted its location just over a mile away from an area listed by CalEnviro Screen as an Environmental Justice Community, already overburdened by pollution. The largest oil field in the county also surrounds the site.

    Another wrinkle appeared at the hearing. Although the new proposal was touted by the owner's land-use consulting firm as the potential site for new cars shipped in from the Port of Hueneme to be stored and prepped, it was apparently just a pipe dream. Officials from the port attended the hearing to also protest the new use and relayed that they had surveyed all their auto customers and not one had expressed interest in storing cars at this remote and controversial site.

    The many objections raised made it clear there was not enough information to make any kind of a decision on the proposal. Much more environmental review is needed and questions answered. Ventura County Planning Director Dave Ward took in all the oral and written commentary and promised to respond within 30-40 days.

    We believe it is time for the ecologically sensitive area north of Ventura to move from polluting uses of the land to those which contribute to sustainable practices and preservation of this valuable natural area.

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    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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