Update: CFROG and Food & Water Watch appealed the approval of this project and on July 23, 2019 the Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted to have staff bring back a resolution to deny. The next vote is Sept. 24 at 11 a.m.
The community turned out to speak against this expanded oilfield. Clearly, the citizens of Oxnard are tired of being surrounded by unhealthy industrial activities.
See our list of supporters here.
• Oxnard bears a heavy pollution burden. And it’s about to get worse.
There are 1,400 low-income residents living in Oxnard Pacific Mobile Estates in Oxnard with homes as close as 1,665 feet to a drill pad, with another nearby. This oilfield will be expanded to four new oil wells, an oil and gas processing facility, and a flare to burn off gas produced at the project. The production facility is being built to separate oil, water and gas for a minimum of 20 permitted oil wells, causing more air pollution and truck traffic in the area.
The mobile home park in proximity to the Cabrillo Oil Field is bounded on three sides by Highway 1, South Rice Avenue and East Pleasant Valley Road, which are all primary trucking routes from the Port of Hueneme. This 82 percent Latino community is the only neighborhood in Ventura County that abuts major transportation routes, oil and gas industry expansion and heavy pesticide use.
Numerous oil wells are all within a one-mile radius of this area.
The State of California, using a tool to identify communities that are most impacted by and sensitive to pollution, assigned this community a score of 100 for pesticides, 97 for impaired water and a pollution burden percentile of 91.
• So, an oilfield expansion in a community this impacted by pollution deserves a full Environmental Impact Review (EIR), right? But the Ventura Planning Commission said no.
On Sept. 7, 2017, The Ventura County Planning Commission accepted Planning Division staff’s recommendation to allow the expanded project to proceed under an addendum of a 1986 Conditional Use Permit (CUP).
The original permit never evaluated the environmental impacts of creating a production facility in this location. The original 1986 permit and Mitigated Negative Declaration did not allow a flare, nor did it consider the environmental impacts of a flare.
There now exists a new body of science pertaining to the health effects to humans residing within a half-mile of an oil and gas production facility. The science tells us that the level of airborne benzene exposure at this range is above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acceptable limit of exposure.
It is unacceptable for Ventura County to approve a document that has no information regarding this project’s impact upon the health of the citizens who live 1,600 feet from the drill pad.
• Environmental Justice is now a required component of land use planning, yet this isn’t considered, either.
In January of 2017, environmental justice became a required part of the land use planning elements in California. The drill pad is within a half mile of children who suffer from high asthma rates and mothers whose babies have a high incidence of low birth weight.
• What do the courts say?
The courts have ruled that a project first approved by a process called a “negative declaration” will require a major revision if a proposed modification may produce a significant environmental effect that had not previously been studied.
They have also required that the environmental review of a project include a cumulative air quality impact analysis of all emissions from the proposed project, along with other existing and reasonably foreseeable sources of air pollution within the immediate airshed.
• CFROG and its partner organization Food and Water Watch filed an appeal of the Planning Commission decision and it was heard by the full Board of Supervisors on July 23, 2019. The board voted 4-1 to have staff bring back a resolution of denial for the project on Sept. 24 at 11 a.m.
We need your help to remind them that the highest calling of our government is the responsibility to protect the health and welfare of its citizenry. Join us in asking that no new drilling be allowed or, at the very least, that a full environmental review be done for the impacts of the project on this community!
To download a fact sheet on this issue, go here.