Ventura (April 23) — County Supervisors voted today to enact a 45-day moratorium on all new oil and gas drilling near potable water while groundwater contamination is investigated. The move came following the discovery by the U.S. Geological Service of explosive thermogenic gases, like methane, in water wells in the Fox Canyon Aquifer.
Oil developer Peak Operator has a permit request pending to drill 79 new tar sands wells in Ventura without an environmental review. The motion for a moratorium will put that request, as well as others, on hold for 45 days while potential impacts to local water are investigated. Supervisors can renew the moratorium twice, for up to two years. In response, Food & Water Watch Senior Organizer Tomas Morales Rebecchi issued the following statement:
“The board took a first step towards protecting our precious county water, but much more is needed. Our community is doubly impacted by agricultural pesticides and oil drilling, and our air and our water have been polluted for decades. If Peak Operator’s tar sands operations are approved, a mix of highly toxic chemicals will be pressure-pumped underground, threatening the health and safety of nearby families. The supervisors should halt all new oil and gas wells once and for all to protect the health of this community.”
For background on steam fracking in the Oxnard tar sands see the Food & Water Watch fact sheet.
For background on the moratorium see our research memo.
Contact: Seth Gladstone - sgladstone[at]fwwatch[dot]org, 917.363.6615