For Immediate Release—November 5th, 2019
Ventura—County Supervisors voted today for a one-year extension on moratorium on all new oil and gas drilling near potable water, while groundwater contamination is investigated. The move came following the U.S. Geological Service’s discovery of explosive thermogenic gases, like methane, in water wells in the Fox Canyon Aquifer earlier this year.
In response to today’s vote, Food & Water Action Senior Organizer Tomas Morales Rebecchi issued this statement:
“We are encouraged that the board of supervisors chose to protect our precious county water for another year, but much more is needed. The moratorium does not apply to projects outside of the Oxnard Plain that also threaten our water supply and community’s health. Given that Ventura County’s air and water have been fouled for decades by fossil fuel drilling, the Supervisors should halt all new oil and gas wells once and for all. The health of our community demands it.”
Oil developer Peak Operator has a permit request pending to drill 79 new tar sands wells in Ventura without an environmental review. The moratorium extension puts that request, as well as others, on hold until next year while the impact on local water is investigated. Supervisors cannot renew the emergency moratorium after a year, but can enact a permanent ordinance to prevent new oil wells like several other counties in California have done.
For details on the dangers of steam fracking in the Oxnard tar sands, see the Food & Water Watch fact sheet.
For more on the moratorium, see our research memo.
Food & Water Watch mobilizes regular people to build political power to move bold and uncompromised solutions to the most pressing food, water, and climate problems of our time. We work to protect people’s health, communities, and democracy from the growing destructive power of the most powerful economic interests.