ventura ventura, May 16, 2022
  • There are 5,253 wells like the ones at the end of some of our streets and along the Ventura Bike Trail that were done on antiquated permits with no expiration date. The oil companies can drill new wells next to those old wells, and go deeper, and use more extreme extraction methods by applying to the county for a simple over-the-counter $330 permit, similar to a permit to hang a new business sign. If NO wins, then the current freedom to expand drilling on an old permit will be set in stone with no chance of an environmental review for any new drilling on thousands of antiquated permits. []

  • There are 1,653 wells drilled on modern permits that HAVE had an environmental review. This shows you that modern environmental review does NOT stop oil drilling. It  slows down the application process if the producer wants to expand on a very, very old permit and may raise costs or curtail some expansion activities for important health and safety reasons. []

  • There are 910 oil and mining jobs according to the Civic Alliance 2021 report. Oilfield workers still have a lot of work to maintain the total of 8,500 wells in the county. There is also a HUGE amount of new work to properly close the 4,300 abandoned wells in the county. It’s possible that the requirement for environmental review could increase employment opportunities. The need for skilled oil production workers may increase as part of a responsible phase-out of oil.

  • County revenues are not affected, since existing production on both the antiquated and the modern permits is totally unaffected by the ordinance adopted by county supervisors in Nov.  It is only NEW wells on ANTIQUATED permits. Note, the reason there is an A and a B on the ballot is that there are two ordinances required to achieve the health and safety review of new oil drilling, one for the coastal zone and one for the non-coastal zone.

  • For those puzzling about the connection to gas prices, this question is easy. First, oil produced in Ventura County is in most cases too thick and low-grade to make gasoline. Oil spokespeople can’t say how much goes to gasoline versus products like asphalt. However, it’s a drop in the bucket of global oil production for gasoline. If the overall county total is 440,000 barrels daily ( and say generously that half (220,000 barrels) can be used to make gasoline and generously estimate that a third of that could be from prospective new wells on antiquated permits that would need environmental review. That would be around 75,000 barrels daily that MIGHT go into gasoline that MIGHT contribute to a decrease in production. Global production is ~ 90 MILLION barrels of oil globally per day [Statistica]and much of it is higher quality for making gasoline, unlike oil from here. That potential decrease in Ventura County oil production could only contribute to maybe around .08% of the global gasoline supply that would not be a factor in local prices at the pump.

  • As water supplies decline, brackish water can be desalted. [About desalting.]However it will be impossible to remove the chemical contaminants that leak into aquifers as oil pipe joints and casings inevitably deteriorate which may already be happening in the groundwater under the Ventura oilfield. Nobody is testing because it is brackish and not considered important.

  • The permitting of new wells on old permits is for protection of those of us who live and work around old wells, and our community that depends increasingly on the protection of the aquifers that they are drilling through.

There is a slideshow on the website that has maps and numbers of wells and explains the risk to aquifers. [ ]

Volunteers are greatly needed to knock on doors and explain the truth about Measures A and B to voters. People by and large really appreciate these visits. Sign up at The campaign has voter lists that make canvassing productive. A short conversation provides validation about their hunch that the NO campaign is in the interests of the oil company and not the future of the community. If NO wins, the county’s lack of regulatory oversight for new wells on old permits will be fixed in perpetuity. Please volunteer now and talk about Measures A and B with everyone you can.

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