June 22, 2013
CFROG TO MONITOR FIRST VENTURA COUNTY “NO FRACKING” AGREEMENT
GROUP TO ADDRESS LOOMING OIL BOOM
Ojai, California—Today, Citizens For Responsible Oil & Gas (CFROG) announced its intention to monitor Mirada Petroleum's controversial permit to drill nine new wells in the Upper Ojai Valley, which is the first oil approval in Ventura County’s history to contain a “no fracking” condition of approval. The efforts by the new community group also resulted in conditions of approval requiring the abandonment of oil wells and removal of associated infrastructure on a portion of the lease, stopping the illegal use of Koenigstein Road by large trucks that endanger public safety, and requiring the operator to keep the oilfield clean of microtrash that could kill endangered California condors. These conditions were approved by the Ventura County Planning Commission at its May 30, 2013 hearing.
CFROG, a new group formed in the wake of rampant new oil drilling in Ventura County, also announced its intention to demand comprehensive review of onshore oil drilling in the County, including an assessment of potential future drilling in areas including coastal oil fields, the Ventura River corridor, the Santa Clara River watershed, the Ojai Valley, and agricultural lands in the Oxnard Plain. CFROG is also actively supporting the May 21, 2013 4-1 vote of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors to require that oil companies disclose whether they intend to conduct fracking in applications for drilling approval. In that vote, Supervisors Bennett, Parks, Zaragoza and Long also directed that operators address where the water supply for drilling and post-drilling activities such as fracking will come from, and where liquid wastes will be disposed.
“In the coming weeks, you will hear more from CFROG about the hundreds of new oil wells proposed near the Sespe Condor Sanctuary, the proposal to drill an injection well for disposal of fracking fluids, a well-casing failure near an elementary school, and much more about a county system that constantly approves drilling without adequate environmental review,” said John Brooks of Oak View, a member of CFROG. "Thanks to the many people who have given us time and money, we are making progress, but much more still needs to be done.
Brian Segee, staff attorney for the Environmental Defense Center, which is providing legal representation, noted that “nearly all of Ventura County’s existing oil production never had careful environmental analysis, and with a looming oil boom driven by fracking on the horizon, we look forward to working with CFROG to chart a big picture, strategic course to address these systematic deficiencies.”
The EDC, a non-profit public-interest environmental law firm, is working with CFROG to bring greater transparency and full environmental analysis of future oil proposals which are expected to include dozens of requests to conduct fracking to recover oil in the Monterey shale underneath the old oil fields in Ventura County. As Segee stated, “Now is the time to take a look at the big picture of a possible oil boom based on fracking and its implications not only for the environment and public health but its impact on agriculture and tourism.”