LIVE Blogging: VC Planning Commission to hear appeal of CRC's (formerly Vintage) project for 19 new wells near Thomas Aquinas College in Upper Ojai
VC In Focus will be Live Blogging to the broadcast of the hearing to begin in 10 minutes. This project is proposed by California Resources Corp (formerly Vintage) and the appeal has been filed by Los Padres Forest Watch and Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas. Stay tuned for updates here and on our facebook page.
Post questions to our facebook page, or in comments below.
Most recent UPDATE is just below:
9:55: Commissioners are hearing from scientist regarding emissions related to this project. He spoke with APCD "loose engineering, loose analysis, this is what we are seeing here." He says he is finding errors in the analysis done on the potential for air emissions. And was surprised to find that in fact, APCD did NOT do the analysis, but it was conducted by VC Planning. But he himself said APCD was in charge of doing this. "Estimates generated by VCAPCD come from limited data, and older measurements, and estimates." Estimates, he said which could vary. And the estimates assumes all the wells are 'in compliance'. Contrary to what Baca reported, APCD does not regulate Methane. They monitor ROC.
9:24 Commissioner Nora Aidukas questioning whether staff examined a report submitted by Blue Earth regarding set back for how much space between creek and an oil wells. Baca indicates staff cannot consider the report. Counsel Barnes emphasizes if a report raises questions in a commissioners mind they can direct staff to gather information and.
Disclosures among commissioners: commissioner Onstot: discloses that he represented some mineral rights owners of the current property. That matter was a lawsuit with Thomas Aquinas college in 1980's.
Barnes, "based on your interaction with the property. Does any of that create a problem in terms of being impartial with you today." Onstot said "No current conflict."
9:13: "we are not aware of any violations of the law" Baca responds to LPFW appeal. Finds all ground of appeal are "without merit - no substantial evidence of significant impacts, no evidence of cumulative impacts."
We disagree with appellants requests. "Your commission is free to decide what the terms of the new CUP are."
"This action is completely discretionary, you have the ability to deny the CUP, or place whatever conditions." said County Counsel Jeffrey Barnes. He explained substantial evidence must be used to make findings and decision.
8:56: going over the history of the oil field. 1997 a modification was granted to allow time extension to drill wells up to 2011. EIR Impact report Addendum: Certified EIR in 1978 "No New impacts have been identified" since 1971. The staff has not identified any new impacts. Baca points to the public comment received by VC Planning.
CFROG has 10 ground of appeal. LPFW has one ground of appeal.
CFROG: two wells being investigated for fresh water intrusion. Baca says no wells are injection wells. DOGGR has for 100 year made sure wells don't leak. "we have not identified any significant impacts" Baca is responding to each of CFROG ground of appeal. Baca said "truck traffic with neither begin or increase." CFROG claims the creek is a red line stream and therefore wells cannot be within a 100 zone. The well permit was expired. Baca says CEQA documents do not expire, company applied for extension prior to the expiration date of the permit.
Permit conditions.. NCZO supercedes the permit condition. Even though the permit condition states they must apply for extension 18 month prior to expiration, CRC filed the extension 16 months in advance said Baca. the actual expiration date was Feb. 2015. He said the government must always accept an application from a member of the public, then the government has the
"No evidence of condor injury or death due to oil operations." No impacts found.
Cumulative effects have not been studied in this century said one of CFROG's claims. All air quality under Air Pollution Control District, "do not have potential for cumulative impact.. under our rules." No new truck traffic. No new disturbance of any site.
Commissioner Rodriguez asks: comment about truck traffic being used if pipeline becomes inoperative for some reason or other. Baca responds - existing permit allows that if pipeline is down, they can temporarily truck for 30 days.
8:46 STaff report, begins with Planning manager Brian Baca. He is a state licensed geologist and hydrologist. This request is a modification of an existing permit. That permit has an expiration date of Feb. 2015, but been in process to receive extension/modification. 4 drill sites are shown in the canyon behind Thomas Aquinas college. The project area does overlap into Los Padres National Forest. Project includes continued operation of 17 existing oil and gas wells, plus 19 new wells on existing drill pads. No new grading. No hydraulic fracturing. No trucking currently involved in production, all oil and gas is transported via a pipeline. The project will include some trucks during drilling. Existing wells were permitted 30 years ago. The project is along Santa Paula creek, an active creek with riparian habitat.
8:42 getting ready to start, video is up live.
8:32 am, waiting for hearing to begin. You can view the Los Padres Forest Watch letter, with reasons for the appeal HERE: http://ventura.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=69&event_id=648&meta_id=475158
Breaking: LA Times: Head of State Oil regulatory agency resigns amid lawsuit alleging conspiracy between regulators and oil industry
What will this mean for local governments like Ventura County who have been relying on reports from their staff showing the State Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal REsources has it all in hand.
Head of California agency accused of favoring oil industry quits
BY JULIE CART
June 5, 2015, 2:50 p.m.
Mark Nechodom, the director of the California Department of Conservation, which oversees the embattled agency that regulates the state's oil and gas industry, resigned Thursday.
Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Nechodom to the post three years ago. He took over an agency that has generated significant controversy.
California's oil regulators, the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, have been facing scrutiny from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after allowing oil producers to drill thousands of oilfield wastewater disposal wells into federally protected aquifers.
Read FULL story HERE