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Supervisors to vote June 22 on proposal for full-time gas flare for 25 years in Upper Ojai

web County of Ventura Oil wells
Photo courtesy County of Ventura
Three existing oil wells on the Agnew Lease in Upper Ojai.

 

Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News Senior Reporter
County supervisors continued to Tuesday, June 22 at 4 p.m. a public hearing on a permit for an oil and gas facility in Upper Ojai.
The board was scheduled to consider granting the permit for the facility on Koenigstein Road at its regular meeting June 15, but decided to continue the hearing at the request of Supervisor Kelly Long.
Long was unable to attend the hearing due to a scheduling conflict, but wished to vote on the item, said Supervisor Linda Parks.
The vote to continue the hearing was 4-0.
The modified permit sought by the applicant, Carbon California, would allow the operation of three existing oil wells and a gas facility, the use of a full-time gas flare, and truck access to the site for the next 25 years.
The project site, on the Agnew Lease, adjacent to Koenigstein Road, is located 5 miles east of Ojai, off Highway 150.
On Sept. 22, the Board of Supervisors held a hearing to consider Carbon California’s request for a permit allowing the drilling of two new wells, for a total of five wells, the re-drilling of an existing well, the flare and truck access.
Those plans came to the supervisors days before regulations on new oil and gas development contained in the 2040 Ventura County General Plan were due to take effect on Oct. 15.
The Sept. 22 hearing was continued to Jan. 26 to allow supervisors more time to review a modified conditional use permit and a final, revised environmental impact report on the project.
The delay would also give Planning staff time to provide supervisors with more information on the number of idle wells operated by the applicant in the county, as requested in an approved motion by Supervisor Linda Parks.
On Oct. 21, Carbon California requested the Jan. 26 hearing be continued. The property on which the wells are sited was sold on Jan. 29, according to county records.
Carbon modified the project on Jan. 25 to include the three existing wells, the full-time flare and truck access via Koenigstein Road.
Tuesday’s hearing was to be the continued Jan. 26 hearing.
According to the Planning staff report on the project currently being proposed, emissions from the project would be below the 5-pound per day threshold required by the Ojai Valley Area Plan. Climate First: Replacing Oil and Gas successfully sued the county over its interpretation that the 5-pound rule did not apply to oil-well emissions.
The 5-pound limit is unique to the Ojai Valley. In the rest of unincorporated Ventura County, a 25-pound per day threshold applies.
On June 15, Ojai Community Development Manager Lucas Seibert sent a letter to the Ventura County Planning Division stating the city of Ojai’s opposition to the project because of insufficient information in the staff report.
“The staff report is lacking in the justification or rationale to support the project, and it is for these reasons that the city of Ojai does not support the project and urges the Board of Supervisors to consider these facts in reviewing this matter,” Seibert wrote. (The letter is published on Page A6 of this edition of the Ojai Valley News.)
To view the comments on the project and the staff report, visit http://bosagenda.countyofventura.org/sirepub/agdocs.aspx?doctype=agenda&itemid=116094.
To view public comments, including from several Ojai Valley residents, at the Sept. 22, 2020 hearing on the permit request, visit http://bosagenda.countyofventura.org/sirepub/agdocs.aspx?doctype=agenda&itemid=111071.
To submit public comments to the supervisors by email, submit them by 3:30 p.m. Monday, June 21, to the clerk of the board at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Indicate in the subject line the agenda item number on which you are commenting. The email will be distributed to the Board of Supervisors and placed into the item's record of the board meeting.
Registration to make a comment via Zoom or phone is Monday, June 21 at 3:30 p.m. An email with the Zoom meeting link and password will be sent to each registrant by Monday, June 21, at 6 p.m. The registration site is https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/4016135214740/WN_nM0hy6yESwOQ2WnFqA1XvA.
For instruction on making comments via Zoom and phone at the public hearing, go to www.ventura.org/boscomment.

 

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