Rally To Stop SoCalGas In Ventura Unites 250+ Frontline Community Members, Elected Officials And Public Health Advocates

Communities on the frontlines of fossil fuel infrastructure demand Newsom shut facility down and end oil and gas extraction

Press Release

Ventura, CA — More than 250 frontline community members and elected officials from across California rallied in Ventura — the fastest warming county in the U.S. — to demand action from Governor Gavin Newsom on fossil fuels. The rally took place at the site of a gas compressor station SoCalGas is currently planning to double in size despite problems with unplanned methane leaks and strong community opposition. The compressor sits across the street from an elementary school and a Boys & Girls Club. Approximately 500 people live within a quarter mile of the facility, but as many as 4,750 live within a half mile radius — close enough to be impacted by a gas explosion. At the rally, community members spoke in front of hand-painted signs and formed a human chain, linking arms from the gate of the elementary school to the compressor site to demonstrate their close proximity. [see photos here]

“Governor Newsom has the perfect example of climate leadership right here in Ventura where the community has won on establishing 2,500 feet setbacks between oil wells and schools and stopped the building of a new fracked gas power plant,” said Food & Water Water Watch’s California Director Alexandra Nagy. “Now it’s Governor Newsom who needs to lead and stop this dangerous gas compressor facility from expanding. Each time Gov. Newsom allows a facility like this one to operate, not only is he complicit in fueling the flames of climate change via worsening drought and wildfires, he is also endangering the health of vulnerable communities on the frontlines of the fossil fuel industry’s expansion. We call on Gov. Newsom to take a stand with the people of Ventura and communities across California — stop the expansion of this gas compressor facility and direct your agencies to conduct a formal Environmental Impact Review before any other work can continue.”

“Southern California Gas compressor station caused me a very serious form of cancer,” said Westside Community Council Chair and Ventura resident Liz Campos. “And I don’t want any child or adult in this neighborhood to have to experience it. It’s painful. It’s hard. Children don’t need it in their future. So SoCalGas has to move to shut down.”

Residents voluntarily evacuated after natural gas was released from the compressor facility into the air over the Fourth of July weekend. Ventura Mayor Sofia Rubalcava recalled SoCalGas’ response to the City’s inquiries: “They told us it was the equivalent of seven personal BBQ tanks and that there was no regulatory reporting requirement for this type of venting. But why not? Because to them, it was nothing. These happen two to four times a year.”

Hosted by the Westside Clean Air Coalition, Last Chance Alliance, Stop SoCalGas Coalition, and VISIÓN, the rally was attended by members of impacted communities working to shut down fossil fuel extraction and SoCalGas infrastructure such as the Playa del Rey Gas Storage Facility and Aliso Canyon Storage Facility, site of the largest gas blowout in U.S. history, as well as elected officials from around the state. 

Wendy Miranda Arevalo of Communities for a Better Environment said, “I may live far from Ventura but I see how our issues overlap and how your neighborhood is like mine. I live in a neighborhood close to oil and gas drilling and refining. I have seen how these sites affect my health and my mother’s health, who has to use a nebulizer everyday so she can breathe. When I was in high school, my track team would run around the neighborhood, past drilling sites that we didn’t even know were drilling sites. We had asthma, nosebleeds. But we all deserve to breathe clean air and this is why we’re asking Newsom to stop the expansion of fossil fuels across the state and calling for an immediate end to oil and gas operations in neighborhoods.”

“I’m here representing 300 elected, representing half of all Californians, who are calling for an end to oil and gas drilling and 2,500 foot setbacks for the entire state,” said Culver City Mayor Alex Fisch. “And I’m not just talking about it. In Culver City, we’re doing it. We are next to the largest urban oil field in the United States — the Inglewood Oil Field — and we are shutting it down.”

Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia, whose company has had its headquarters in Ventura for 48 years, said, “We want to stop the expansion of this site, then we want to remove the site, and finally we want to ensure there is a setback of at least 2,500 foot between fossil fuel facilities and residential areas.”

Residents staged a peaceful demonstration following the rally on Monday, July 19, passing out donuts and materials on health and safety to workers entering the site.


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Bruce Boyer, candidate for Ventura County Sheriff
Bruce Boyer, candidate for Ventura County Sheriff
7 days ago

More hysteria from the idiots! Who are ‘front-line residents”? smacks of ‘Revolutionary struggle speak”. Why is this being published ‘as is” propaganda? Is the CJ now PRAVDA??

C E Voigtsberger
C E Voigtsberger
8 days ago

Shades of the LNG plant that never got built. “We’re all gonna die ! ! !

The EIR report for that ill-fated plant reached a height of three stories if my recollection of the photograph of one copy of the report all stacked up reaches that far back in history. When one considers how many copies of that towering load of b.s. were reproduced, the loss of that many trees to produce all that paper, the environmental impact of manufacturing all that paper, including the cost of electricity to type the report (we used typewriters that far back), the cost of copier products and more electricity, the cost of transporting such a monumental document when all the environmental impacts as a result of THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT are added up, one is left to wonder whether the EIR created more environmental pollution to produce than the plant would have produced over its lifetime.

One would have gathered that the plant was going to set off atomic bombs some miles off shore from the hysteria that the proposed plant created.

Do we have another LNG plant hysteria brewing?

Want cleaner air? Well for starters, all the folks who drive their Tahoes and Toyota Land Cruisers and F-150s to the EIR hearings and to the rallies and demonstrations could take a bus or better yet, walk or ride a bike to the clamor.

When I worked on the hearings in Santa Barbara for the crude processing plant that got all the greenies’ panties twisted, I was always impressed with how many people, one to a motor vehicle, drove to the hearing venue.

I wanted to say before the hearing started, “Could I see a show of hands of how many folks walked here tonight and in addition, those who rode their bikes here?”

“Okay. You folks can stay and complain about the processing plant. The rest of you dim-witted hypocrites, geddoutta here.”

We want big trucks such as the Harrison Boys’ trucks to burn clean CNG. We want the busses, you know, those environmentally friendly vehicles to burn CNG. Well, just how do you suppose we get enough CNG here in River City to fire up those big trucks and buses? Do you want trucks transporting it in from a compressor station in Bakersfield? Yeah, that outta save the environment big time. I love watching a double trailer natural gas hauling truck roaring down 101 in the middle lane at 70 mph. Sure rivets my attention to be sure to keep lots of space between me and it.

While I am on the subject of CNG, I notice the Harrison Boys’ trucks say they use CNG, a renewable resource. Say what? I must have missed a page in that sleight of hand. I though CNG came from natural gas which came out of the ground along with crude oil. How is that a renewable energy source? Are they burning methane from the landfills that they are producing? Is that the renewable resource? I am not a petroleum engineer, but I don’t think CNG is produced from garbage produced methane. But, a petroleum engineer could correct my understanding.

Hey, the next time there is a big rally, be sure to let all the Hollywood greenies know so that they can fly into Oxnard in their private jets and take private limos to the rally to support cleaner air. Ed Somebody or other could ride his bike down to Ventura. Now he might be a qualified speaker at a clean air rally, although I suspect when he flies it isn’t business class but a private jet out of Oxnard or whatever it is that they call the ex-U.S. Air Force base in Cam. Is it officially Camarillo International Airport yet? I think I am one of the few still alive in Ventura County who remembers when B-47s used to fly out of there.

David F Puu
David F Puu
8 days ago

Hear hear!

Tom Snyder
Tom Snyder
8 days ago

Drill, baby, drill!!! We need fossil fuels. They are the most moral, most efficient way of providing energy, of helping the economy grow. And, they reduce poverty too!

Sheryl Hamlin
Sheryl Hamlin
7 days ago
Reply to  Tom Snyder

We should revisit nuclear power. Shutting down California’s nuclear plants without enough power to replace is it madness. Wait until the brownouts become wide scale blackouts.

Jesse
Jesse
7 days ago
Reply to  Sheryl Hamlin

Sheryl, I agree with you 100%. No other clean energy technology can scale to meet the needs of the state, the country, or the world.

Donna
Donna
8 days ago

Really, is this article a joke, where do you get you facts from Cracker Jack boxes!! Ridiculous.

C E Voigtsberger
C E Voigtsberger
7 days ago
Reply to  Donna

Sixteen words. One incorrect word usage and two incorrect punctuation marks. Wow, Donna, you almost set a local record for the least grammatically correct post of the week with a little less than 33% error ratio. I suggest before you post again you repeat third grade grammar. Oops, I forgot. That’s now Disadvantaged Students’ English 101 at the college level. No, that’s not junior college, it’s community college. Still the same bonehead classes though.

Yeah, yeah, I know posting on line doesn’t call for correct word usage and punctuation, it is free speech which means that all the rules of correct word usage and punctuation are in the garbage can — which is what mostly is put up on the internet, garbage.