Yesterday County Planning staff held a public hearing, a normal part of the application process for a modification to a Conditional Use Permit that allows drilling for oil and extraction.
That plan, includes two "test" wells and the company, DCOR Inc. (Dos Cuadros Offshore Resources) says they won't use hydraulic fracturing. But concerned residents say that they may be able to come back at any time and just add that in.
The Star's article, printed online yesterday (May 22) is HERE.
Photo: May, 2014 - a "rig" at a well. Perha
The County heard concerns from the public regarding fracking, cumulative effects, and the close vicinity of earthquake faults in that area.
Seneca Resources, deepening wells in Sespe
In addition to this project, another larger project submitted by Seneca Resources, involving a proposal to deepen/rework three wells in a field above Piru, hit a small road bump this month when an error in the permitting process was caught by Los Padres ForestWatch. ForestWatch discovered that the applicant had submitted an incorrect CUP with their application, an older one from 1976. That permit had been updated in 1981, requiring a more in depth application process (a minor modification) for the type of work Seneca is proposing. This means that the zoning clearance granted has been revoked, and Seneca will now have to file the proper application for a minor modification. A process which includes a public hearing and environmental review.
Seneca Resources, 8 new wells in Los Padres National Forest -
The National Forest is accepting public comment until June 4 on this project. These wells are likely to be completed using hydraulic fracturing. For more info click HERE.
Other proposals from oil companies are listed HERE.
Photo info: A acid job that occurred in September 2013 in Upper Ojai. In the coming year, operators will have to "certify" to DOGGR that prior to this operation they have notified neighbors within 500 feet of the site, and within 1500 feet of the well bore location underground. Currently no notification of any kind is required.
The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources has released a thirteen page document containing proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing (fracking), acidization and other well stimulation processes. Today begins the sixty day public comment period and marks the beginning of the formal rule making process which lasts three hundred and sixty five days. Those regulations will take affect January 1, 2015. In addition, DOGGR has begun the drafting of emergency regulations (so called because of the tight time frame with which they have to get them out and implemented) that will take affect on January 1, 2014.
These rules are mandated by the passage of SB 4 or The Pavley Bill, written by Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills). Beginning Jan 1, 2014 operators will have to certify that they have complied with notification (of neighbors within 1500 feet of the well bore destination and within 500 feet of the well surface location) rules disclosure requirements. The permit process changes in 2015 with an actual application and technical review that will occur prior to permit for well stimulation being approved.
(edited/corrected 11/19/13) The new regulations apply to "hydraulic fracturing, acid fracturing, and acid matrix stimulation." The article does not apply to "underground injection projects." An underground injection project or disposal projects is defined - in these proposed regulations - as a "sustained or continual injection into one or more wells over an extended period in order to add fluid to a zone for the purpose of enhanced oil recovery, disposal or storage." Various projects that are not covered in the proposed regulations - which are aimed at regulated well stimulation processes - include "water flood injection, steam flood injection, cyclic steam injection, injection disposal and gas storage projects."
DOGGR expects to have to increase the fourteen cent per barrel assessment that is currently charged to all operators in the state in order to fund the implementation of the new rules.
“We’re pleased that the State has taken this important step towards providing more public disclosure and environmental safeguards for fracking in the Los Padres National Forest and throughout California,” said Jeff Kuyper, executive director of Los Padres ForestWatch, an independent nonprofit organization that monitors oil drilling and fracking in the Sespe Oil Field. “But there’s still much work to be done. As the regulations are finalized over the course of the next year, we will continue to demand the strongest protections possible to guard against pollution and protect our forest’s watersheds. Our farms, our communities, and our wildlife depend on it.”
Friday morning DOGGR officials spoke with reporters on the phone regarding the proposed regulations and emphasized that while a complex body of laws has been in place for decades covering well integrity and construction the new laws create transparency by improving access to information.
"These regulations give us more information about [hydraulic fracturing] is used today," said Tim Kustic, director of DOGGR. "And going forward. This sets the stage for new and robust regulations." He emphasized that industry has already voluntarily disclosed 1000 fracking jobs in the state on the website fracfocus. DOGGR will use fracfocus in the interim while it develops it's own online database for reporting well stimulation processes.
"One of the successes of SB4 is that it will increase our understanding of ground water," said Jason Marshall, chief deputy director with the Department of Conservation.
Also on the call was Tom Howard, executive director of the State Water Resources Control Board. An important part of the SB4 creates for the first time ever in the state requirements for the ground water management plan, and testing for ground water baseline quality.
Howard explained that the state water board will be entering into a rulemaking process as well as they implement the aspects of SB4 that apply to testing and monitoring of the ground water - SB4 actually creates an addition to the state water code.
Public hearings are scheduled throughout the state. AT this time there is no hearing scheduled in Ventura County, but Sen. Pavley has requested that one be held, Nechodom indicated they are considering that, but that a workshop will take place in Ventura County as the scoping progresses regarding the environmental impact study on hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation practices.
“It is irresponsible for the oil industry to continue fracking our national forest until the regulations are finalized and adequate safeguards are in place to protect our watersheds,” said Kuyper. “ The Sespe Creek watershed is one of our region’s most ecologically sensitive areas, and every precaution should be taken to protect this important resource.”
Visit the DOGGR website to review the text of the proposed regulations and for information on the hearings.
VCInFocus writer Kimberly Rivers has a byline in today's Ojai Valley News. Below is an excerpt. Click HERE to read the full article at OjaiValleyNews.com
After passing the California Assembly and Senate on Wednesday, State Bill 4 (SB-4) — the only remaining bill aimed at regulating hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation practices — is heading to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk and is expected to be signed.
It's not over yet. The bill has passed the Assembly, it now goes back to the senate and if it gets past that body it will land on the governors desk. But this was a big step, with several amendments.
First the local response from Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas:
"CFROG reminds all that this is only the first step toward making sure the recovery of shale oil beneath Ventura County will not damage the environment," said John Brooks, president of CFROG. "The state regulations control what happens underground, everything else like truck traffic on roads, land use, noise ,air quality ,water quality and supply, access roads and graded pads is the responsibility of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors and our city councils. Nothing in the legislation prevents local agencies from moving forward with independent CEQA review of the above ground impacts of tapping the Monterrey shale oil and CFROG needs your help to make sure that will be the next step."
As expected, the industry's response is tepid.
"WSPA members are disappointed the Assembly passed SB 4 in its current form. We have acknowledged the need to develop comprehensive and balanced regulations of hydraulic fracturing in California and had hoped SB 4 would provide those regulations," said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of Western States Petroleum Association. "Unfortunately, SB 4 could create conditions that will make it difficult to continue to provide a reliable supply of domestic petroleum energy for California."
And, here is the complete press release from state senator Fran Pavley (D - Agoura Hills) :
California Assembly Votes to Regulate Fracking
For Immediate Release
September 11, 2013
Contact: Will Jason
"SACRAMENTO – The California State Assembly voted 48-17 Wednesday to approve Senate Bill 4 (Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills), a stunning victory for the public and the environment that moves California a step closer to regulating hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), acidizing and other unregulated oilfield practices.
Unlike at least 14 petroleum producing states including Texas and Wyoming, California does not currently regulate fracking, which is the injection of water, sand and chemicals underground to crack rock formations and free up oil and gas. The state also lacks regulations for acidizing, which is the use of hydrofluoric acid and other corrosive acids to dissolve shale rock. Oil companies have predicted acidizing could be the primary tool for accessing the Monterey Shale, the nation’s largest shale oil deposit with an estimated 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
SB 4 would require permits for fracking, acidizing and other oil well stimulation practices. It would require notification of neighbors, public disclosure of all chemicals used, groundwater and air quality monitoring and an independent scientific study. The study would evaluate potential risks such as groundwater and surface water contamination, greenhouse gas emissions, local air pollution, seismic impacts, and effects on wildlife, native plants and habitat.
“I commend my colleagues for this crucial and difficult vote,” Pavley said. “There are still many unanswered questions about the use and impacts of fracking and acidizing, and it is in the interest of all Californians to monitor and regulate these practices. Ultimately the oil industry, not the public, should be held accountable for the costs of these activities.”
The bill will be sent to the Senate for concurrence."
And now for word on the cool response from several environmental groups.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press contact: Jessica Lass, 415-875-6143 / firstname.lastname@example.org
California’s Fracking Bill Passes Assembly with Flawed Amendments
NRDC, California League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action and Environmental Working Group Oppose New Amendments, No Longer Support SB4
SACRAMENTO (September 11, 2013) – "The only remaining California bill this term to address fracking (SB 4) passed through the Assembly this morning with new amendments by the oil and gas industry that undermine the bill’s original intent. The Natural Resources Defense Council, California League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action and Environmental Working Group no longer support SB4 due to these amendments.
“Californians deserve to have their health and drinking water sources protected from oil and gas development. Last-minute amendments, added due to oil industry pressure, threaten to weaken the environmental review required by CEQA,” said Miriam Gordon, California Director of Clean Water Action.
“This unfortunate turn of events should give Governor Brown even more reason to immediately put in place a moratorium on fracking and well stimulation while the state evaluates the risks,” said Damon Nagami, senior attorney for NRDC.
“We appreciate Senator Pavley’s leadership in addressing the environmental and public health threats from fracking,” said Sarah Rose, CEO of CLCV.
Prior to the introduction of the new amendments that compromise the bill, NRDC, CLCV, CWA and EWG had been working to put the critical safeguards that SB4 contains – new permit requirements, groundwater monitoring, public notification, inter agency management and independent hazards study – in place to protect Californians from risky fracking activities. "
Another group opposing SB 4 is Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Keep an eye out for a lobbying push from the energy sector and environmental groups that oppose and support this bill. Notice what kind of response the governor's administration provides.
by Kit Stoltz
"The U.S. Army had a problem, a big problem: 165,000 gallons of some of the deadliest war materials known to man, including napalm, chlorine gas, mustard gas and sarin, a nerve gas developed by the Nazis, tiny doses of which can kill in minutes. After stockpiling these weapons of destruction for decades in its Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver, the government decided the time had come to dispose of the hazardous wastes but didn’t know how.
The solution? In l961, authorities drilled a well 12,000 feet deep, far below any aquifer, and over the next five years pumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic wastes into a cavity in the rock miles beneath the surface.
One problem: Not long after the pumping began, Denver and nearby suburbs began to experience swarms of earthquakes. Most of them were quite small, less than 3 in magnitude, but in a region that rarely experiences earthquakes, 1,300 earthquakes in four years raised questions. Then, in August 1967, a significant earthquake — magnitude 5.3 — shook the city of Denver and the nearby suburb of Commerce, with damages that totaled over $1 million."
Click here to read the FULL article and get your copy of the REPORTER today.
On April 9, 2007, BHP Billiton’s proposal to build an enormous liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of Oxnard and Malibu was scheduled to be heard in Ventura County by the California State Lands Commission.
The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information request has received documents from the Environmental Protection Agency which reveal that companies operating wells off California's central coast not only we allowed to hydraulically fracture wells without any environmental review, but they were also allowed to release waste water from fracking into the ocean.
Oil companies point out that the water is treated before being released, and that fracking has not caused any environmental damage in California.
VCInFocus is awaiting comment from local companies Venoco and DCOR. Both of which have application pending before the Ventura County Planning office. DCOR has a major modification request pending.
Here is a detailed article about the EPA documents and the companies operating offshore in SB and Ventura County, including information about their frack jobs.
And here is the website of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement BSEE: http://www.bsee.gov
Government documents including permits and internal emails from the BSEE reveal that fracking off the shores of California is more widespread than previously known. While new oil leases are banned, companies can still drill from 23 grandfathered-in platforms in waters where endangered blue and humpback whales and other marine mammals often congregate.
Of note: The website listed for DCOR LLC based in Ventura is currently offline, and in July the Ventura Chamber of Commerce welcomed DCOR to it's ranks.
Note from Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas (CFROG.ORG) :
"Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks of Thousand Oaks asked the executive director of the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District to report on the South Coast Air Quality Management District's new rule on fracking and if there is something similar the Ventura County APCD may want to do. Here is the report: http://bosagenda.countyofventura.org/sirepub/agdocs.aspx?doc&itemid=56817
The matter will be discussed on Tuesday, June 11, at approximately 11 a.m. at the county of Ventura Board of Supervisors meeting in the Administration Building of the county Government Center, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura.
Please let others know about the meeting and try to attend so our county elected officials know their constituents are paying close attention to this issue."
The SCAQMD was the first local (non state) body to approve rules and oversight on fracking related to air quality. The VCAPCD plans to examine their rules. The APCD expects supporters of the fracking to be on hand to answer questio