Santa Paula: Citizens Challenge Crimson


By Sheryl Hamlin

At the October 16, 2019 Santa Paula City Council Meeting, item 10 (Adoption of Ordinance No. 1283 Granting Crimson California Pipeline L.P. a Fifteen Year Franchise Extension) brought out four members of the public to speak.

Two representatives from Crimson (David Blakeslee from Compliance and Brian Klein from Engineering) addressed safety concerns of the fifteen year old pipeline. They also reported on the community involvement of the company.

Source: Crimson presentation

Public Comments

Four members of the community spoke in Public Comments after the presentation:

Mario Pacheco, Jasmine Gomez, Nathan Ramos Rodriguez, Laura Espinosa

Mario Pacheco expressed concerns about a 17,000 foot 70 year old pipeline and the potential damage to the groundwater which services the agrarian community. Jasmine Gomez expressed similar concerns asking: will it cost more now or after a problem to fix? Nathan Ramos Rodriguez suggest a damage bond in the event of a spill. He referenced the 2016 spill in Ventura which took two years to clean. Laura Espinosa, former council member, said it was unreasonable to expect removal; however, it is reasonable to impose a substantially larger fee. She said $4300 annual is a pittance compared to a $10,000 monthly received by a farmer in Oxnard.

Council Discussion

The council asked the Crimson representatives to respond to the citizen concerns. As to the bond, Crimson responded that insurance and bonding is already in the agreement.

Council Member Juarez asked “what is significant and refutable”. Crimson answered that federal regulations define anything on the streets as such.

Council Member Sobel asked about the inspection documents. Crimson responded that these are not public documents, but include hydro tests and wall measurements.

As to the Ventura leak, Crimson said the company fully funded the cleanup. According to this article, the company was unable to detect the spill because the pipeline was undergoing maintenance. See pictures. Note that Nathan Ramos Rodriguez’ mention of the spill was the first during the hearings on this item.

Vice Mayor Araiza said he had worked with Crimson for years with no problems, although he declined to speak on the spill due to on-going litigation.

Council Member suggested the item be postponed until the dollar amount and the term of the contract is reviewed, suggesting a shorter term. Mayor Garman said he was fine with both term and contractual amount and moved to adapt. The motion was seconded by Council Member Juarez. In a roll call vote, the totals were 3-2 with Council Members Crosswhite and Sobel opposing and Mayor Garman, Vice Mayor Araiza and Council Member Juarez supporting.

To watch the entire presentation and/or download the staff report, click here.

More about author: Sheryl Hamlin dot com


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