Last week VC Planning Commissions heard arguments from groups asking for a full Environmental Impact Report on a proposal by DCOR Inc. for two exploratory wells in the Modelo Canyon area above Piru. But more on that later...
During the discussion Commissioners heard from concerned Piru residents, and in fact received a petition signed by 150 people - they got that in less than a week when they heard about the appeal - wanting an EIR due to concerns regarding the environment, truck traffic, dust and the impacts increased oil and gas activity would have on this small rural community. The issue of clusters of illnesses such as asthma and cancer were brought up as well.
Commissioners were confident this is just an exploratory project and after advice from Jeffrey Barnes, County Counsel, they were comfortable in saying that no EIR was needed now, because should DCOR decide to expand it's oil activity in the area, they would be required to come back for a new conditional use permit.
And yet, oil companies are adding wells onto conditional use permits in Ventura County with a Zoning Clearance. This process does not involved the application process of a "modification to a CUP", it does not require any environmental review. And is in many instance done "over the counter"
Examples of the clearances recently issued by VC Planning:
1. DCOR, CUP 488 - authorization to drill FIVE new wells on an existing pad for a total of 19 active or idle wells (14 existing wells) owned and operated by DCOR within the permit boundary. This area is in the Temescal Oil Field on land owned by Rancho Temescal south of Lake Piru. Drilling of each well will take one week, will require 24 hours per day of drilling, seven days a week.
NOTE: CUP 488 has no well quantity restriction.
CUP 488 does not have an expiration dates.
Ventura County Planning has reviewed the CUP and the operation is in compliance with all applicable conditions at this time.
You may recall earlier this year the Ventura County Board of Supervisors added a few lines to their CUP application. It included a question regarding hydraulic fracturing and allowed the County to track where hydraulic fracturing may take place, and if concerned it could include a prohibition in the CUP. It does not appear that is the case with zoning clearances. The CUP application does not apply.
Below is a list of the zoning clearances issued by the planning department in the last two weeks. DCOR's project is not the only one involving oil and gas activity:
(here is a link to the same document: http://www.ventura.org/rma/planning/pdf/zoning/zoning-clearances/0921-0927.pdf)
And here is a link to the VC Planning website to view other zoning clearances granted each week.