Public raises oil/gas well expansion issue at Oxnard City Council meeting

By George Miller

It wasn’t even on the agenda. It’s not even within City jurisdiction. But, at the 7-18-17 Oxnard Council meeting, numerous members (circa 37) of the public argued pro and con over Renaissance Petroleum’s 2014 application to Ventura  County (which has jurisdiction) to expand its oil operations on unincorporated land within sight of Oxnard. Renaissance says that they informed the city of this three times since 2014.

The project is at 3214 Etting Road, Oxnard area and encompasses 26.87 acres. Read about project: Case PL14-0103

Some residents and pressure groups have concerns about potential environmental hazards and have attempted to block the application or at least demand a more stringent environmental review. They claimed air pollution, disease, environmental and racial justice, the cumulative effect of multiple polluting industries and toxic waste sites in the area. At a minimum, some wanted more stringent environmental impact review.

Pro-business and pro-oil groups and individuals spoke up for the project, citing exemplary compliance, operations, housekeeping, good neighborliness, lessened dependence on foreign oil, and the tax and revenue benefits of this activity.

The Council isn’t supposed to respond to public speakers on items not on the agenda, but often does anyway and did here.

Brian Baca, the County Planner in charge of the application processing, said that all requirements are being met and that no health hazards were apparent.

The Council was of a mind to send a letter to the County to emphasize the need for health safety and to get assurances that the process is being properly performed. They want to agendize authorizing that at next Tuesday’s meeting. They acknowledge that the matter is under County jurisdiction. The County tends to be very environmentally conscientious.


Public Speakers

Chris Collier/Western States Petroleum. 6000 jobs $523MM state and local taxes, reduces reliance on foreign oil, thorough vetting of projects. Request Oxnard not pre-empt this.

Maureen Carson- Land Use Consultant, for Western Sates Petroleum. Ignore false emotional statements. City of Oxnard respond to 3 previous notices. Process was followed. Process shouldn’t be opposed without knowing all the facts.

Mark Truck- Pres. Renaissance Petrol.- Degree in  Geology. Previously submitted letter to Council by email 7-6-17. 5 F/T employees, family-owned. Work with Cabrillo oil , outside city limits since 2004.  More than 1500 feet from city limits.

Karina King- Demand environmental impact report. No more of this and oil and gas projects

Jessica McCardie- Concerned about air quality, exposure to dangerous substances. Want environmental impact study.

Ms. Merrill- Ventura County Climate Hub. Live within a mile of Cabrillo oil field expansion. This area has had enough. Environmental impact of this, ag activity, pesticides, are concerns.

Erin Merrill- Live one mile away, 2 miles from Halaco site and near other polluting sites. Air pollution risks unacceptable. Oppose without additional review.

Frank Mellman- CFROG letter . Letter is wrong, project 1566 feet from Oxnard. Not 35 additional wells- actually 5. 15 more at Rosemund site. Sum is 20, not 35 additional wells.  Renaissance provides fees and royalty payments.

Dave Rippe- In oil and gas 33 years. Expert. Associated with Renaissance- no more upstanding operator in VC. CFROG not registered with County. State registrar has failed to comply with state, may not even qualify.

Ken Oplinger- C of C Alliance VC/SB County.   If you want to join appeal, hear views from both sides, full discussion.  Is a county matter

Nancy Lindholm- C of CC- Re: Special interests. We all have them. Mine is business growth/stronger community. How can you use city resources for only one side of  the argument. Stick to business.

Christine Brown- City intern and Oxnard College Student. Works with CFROG. Wants City to stress need for EI study of cumulative effects

Jeff Weiler- Own Oxnard Real Estate/mineral rights. Oil and gas provides jobs, tax revenue, owner revenue.  They are a good neighbor- no complaints, full compliance. Surprised to hear of permit mod. by Oxnard- based on false info

Sandy Smith- V Eco Dev assoc.- County has skills to eval;uate app/regs. Encourage city not to intervene prematurely.  Allow Brian Baca County Planner time to review.

John Williams- In favor of project. Excellent small successful business,best practices, well-maintained orderly operation- no complaints. Experience in oil and gas.

Myra Velasquez- 19 y.o. Environmental studies- possible damage by oil and gas. Worked in fields, already seen harm. Deserve clean air.,

Adam Vega- Want env impact study. Residents getting asthma. Need sustainable path

AJ- Opposed, Democrats opposed.

Martin Rodriguez- In favor.

Brian Baca- Planner-Comml/Ind permits Mgr. Provided one page project summary. 3 “factoids”- City informed by 3 page letter in 2014. CFROG testimony incorrect. More than 1500 from city limits. Will add 2.5 truck trips. Re: Gas flare issue. They are handling it in most responsible manner./ 95% sold for domestic use, the reset i flared, per air pollution control dist. rules. Current permit has no trucking limit. They limited selves to 20.

Eric Crow- Oil and gas guy. For the project.

Naomi Tegoy(?) (in Spanish)- Green Water Works, Food and Water Watch- Demands to not let in any more oil wells.  Thanks to Carmen Ramirez, Madrigal, Perello for supporting them. Concerned about expansion.  You should smell leaking gas.

Ryan Plason-  In favor of Renaissance Petroleum and this project.  His local business releies upon oil industry. 100% in favor of clean production

Lynn Jensen- VC COLAB- Process is expensive/. 35 oil field in VC, in all communities in VC. Traffic runs on gasoline. Ag and oil have supported each other in county. (in favor).


Council Comments

Mayor Flynn- Do we study and agendize this for the fall?  Nyhoff- ask Ashley Golden- Planning Director. Golden said appeal would be in August, so this must be much faster.

MacDonald- Agree with clean air goal. Have been vocal that the County has inserted themselves in to our Channel Islands Harbor planning, yet city joins into County business. Not appropriate for City to insert itself into the process. But OK for City staff to watch that City interests are represented.

Ramirez- Ensure health and safety of residents. We need to look at what the requirements are- are they stringent enough? Want to send letter to county about health risks. Not calling for environmental review, but want assurances that risks are being addressed.

Perello- Took offense to 2 speakers: 1)-  “this wouldn’t happen in affluent white area.” We have all colors here. 2)- Bilingual facility was abused tonight.  Grew up in ag and saw oil business, but I drive a car. Asked Ashley Golden- if the project was in city, would anything be done differently? Golden: Each city has own CEQA impact requirements, but not terribly different.  Notification would not have been any different if site was in city. She doesn’t know enough to answer.

Madrigal- Agrees with Ramirez on jurisdictional issues.

Flynn- Were concerns about health and safety. Believes County has a process to do this.  VC has some of the worst air quality in the country. How much is due to oil and gas industry? Should weigh opportunity costs. Don’t see compromising of safety. Will express our concerns in a letter to the County.

In response to question from Perello, Planner said flaring not a significant polluter per Air Pollution Control District.

Perello wants a vote over the letter to formalize it. Oppose Flynn claim of a consensus. Per Fischer, this action not agendized. Suggests a motion providing directio, put lettre on next week’s consent agenda.  Says there is  a motion from Perello.

Ramirez moved to agendize item for next week for this letter

Vote-. 3-2 for sending the letter


 Meeting Agenda

This meeting’s other topics will covered in these  other articles.

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George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard. He has been a sea kayaker for 25 years.

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Mike Dempsey

I’d rather live next to oil well than live next to Bert Perrelo.
Bert who has never maintained his property in 25 years wouldn’t get away with this and a affluent white neighborhood.

William Hicks

I’d say that the “Nay’s” to this are attempting to filibuster on the issue in high numbers. Anymore, politic’s is not something that is someone else job. All citizens have a stake in political decisions. Those who see the wisdom in having a plentiful supply of energy at a reasonable cost MUST make their voice heard by all means available.

We were tired of business as usual when we voted for President Trump. We took on special interest groups and a biased lame stream media and prevailed. Our victory will not go unchallenged and we need to stand at the door to challenge the wolf.