No New Tar Sands

UPDATE: A recent U.S. Geological Survey report found petroleum-related gases in two Oxnard groundwater wells sited directly over existing cyclic steam oil recovery operations near this site, and possibly a third. Supervisor Steve Bennett proposed a temporary moratorium of new cyclic steam activity near aquifers containing potable water until we know more.

Our supervisors unanimously supported this moratorium at the April 23 meeting. It is in effect for 45 days and will be brought back to our supervisors at that time.

For a fact sheet on this action, go here.

An operator has submitted an application to the Ventura County Planning Department to expand an existing oil and gas operation on the Oxnard Plain. The proposal is for 79 new oil wells to extract tar sands by using an extreme extraction process called cyclic steam. 


The project as submitted - 

  • Increases air emissions in the county by 5% - just one project. 
  • Would allow 79 wells to be drilled through 5 groundwater basins in the Oxnard Plain. 
  • Would be processed as a "zoning clearance" - with no public hearings, no environmental review. 
  • County policy allows this type of expansion on old land use permits with no modern environmental review.
  • The process of extracting tar sands is energy intensive, requires crude oil to be trucked in and mixed with the tar sands so it can be trucked or piped. 
  • Cyclic steam uses extremely high temperatures to make the tar sands, the consistency of peanut butter, flow up the well - but those extreme temps can impact the cap rock below the groundwater aquifers. 

Here is PDF "packet" to share with friends about this proposal. 

What is the difference between ministerial "zoning clearance" projects and discretionary projects? 

Action items:

#NoNewTarSands #CFROGonWatch

HBH_Ranch_Tar_Sands_April_2018.JPGCFROG Photo, April 2018: Current facility at Sturgis Road, near where the 79 wells are proposed.