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: