The Center for Biological Diversity, Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas and Los Padres ForestWatch have announced they are filling a joint lawsuit today against the County of Ventura for their failure to properly study environmental impacts of a recently approved project to add 19 new oil wells at existing oil fields along the Punchbowl hiking trail in Santa Paula Canyon behind Thomas Aquinas College.
The groups are being represented by Hermosa Beach based law firm Chatten-Brown & Carstens. The groups have exhausted the county appeal process and are now asking the courts to halt the project until full environmental review is conducted.
“Everyone knows oil and water don’t mix,” says Ileene Anderson, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity., “The last thing endangered steelhead, recovering California condors and downstream farms and homes need is an oil spill. Ventura County ought to be protecting these incredible places, not turning them over to become industrial oil sites.”
California Resources Corporation (formerly Vintage Petroleum) a spin off of Occidental Petroleum, requested a modification of their Conditional Use Permit, allowing them to extend their permit for another 30 years, and add the 19 new oil wells over that time. The groups say it has been too long since the last environmental study was conducted and the conditions have changed in the canyon enough to warrant a new study.
Here is the complaint filed Tuesday, November 17 with Ventura County Superior Court:
Ventura County Planning now reports all zoning clearance approvals in the County. These reports includes simple conversions of rec rooms to living space, swimming pools, stone walls and oil wells.
These approvals are done with no public notice, no public hearing.
parcel # 6150020015
Conditional Use Permit 23
Location: Torrey Canyon Oil Field, North of the City of Simi Valley
California Resources Corporation granted a zoning clearance to drill one oil and gas well "Torrey 118." Exact location of the well will be verified when DOGGR issued Notice of Intent to Drill. Drilling will take about 45 to 60 days, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
"CUP 23 has no well quantity restrictions"
That permit covers "approximately 218 active and idle wells" operated by CRC.
The CUP expires on Oct. 28, 2033.
The County reports all conditions of the permit are being met at this time.
Conditional Use Permit 26
Location: South Mountain Oil Field,
California Resources Corporation granted request to drill one oil and gas week on existing pad in the Santa Paula lease.
The CUP covers about 169 active and idle wells.
CUP 26 "has no well quantity restrictions" and "does not have an expiration date"
County reports all permit conditions are being met at this.