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OP-ED: 15 miles from Ojai, danger lurks

 8 20 compressor op ed

Flier for Saturday, Aug. 21, meeting with state legislators about gas compressor site near E.P. Foster School. 

 

By John Brooks

State Sen. Monique Limón and Assemblymember Steve Bennett are inviting you to join them in an informational meeting Saturday, Aug. 21, about the Southern California Gas company compressor across the street from E.P. Foster Elementary School and the Boys & Girls Club.

 

The meeting will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at DeAnza Academy, 2060 Cameron St., Ventura.

People can also register to participate virtually at: https://bit.ly/2U2m5nA

Why should Ojai Valley residents care?

First, there is the matter of environmental justice. Nowhere else is a potentially explosive compressor facility embedded in a community. Natural gas from out of state arrives in a pressurized underground pipeline and is pushed north to Santa Barbara County by powerful turbines. Pipelines often rupture and leak and compressors explode.

This type of risky industrial activity would never be allowed in Ojai Valley neighborhoods. The pollution load is heavy on the Avenue.

Asthma and other respiratory rates are too high.

Conditions change

New housing is being built in West Ventura very close to the compressor and conditions that existed a hundred years ago on the Avenue can no longer be tolerated in the modern era.

Having this type of infrastructure is a daily danger and an environmental injustice to the 13,000 predominantly low-income people who live nearby.

Ask for an EIR

The community is demanding an environmental impact report to analyze the risks and the need for new and expanded fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when much needs to be done to curtail the pollution that is disrupting our climate.

By signing up for the Aug. 21 meeting, you can help make life better for our neighbors 15 miles south of us along Highway 33.

Ventura Mayor Sofia Rubalcava has marched against the compressor and the Ventura City Council voted unanimously in favor of an EIR.

Patagonia has joined in the opposition

Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia, also took part in the community protests. That company has had its headquarters in Ventura for 48 years. At a July 17 protest rally at Kellogg Park, he said: “We want to stop the expansion of this site, then we want to remove the site, and, fi nally, we want to ensure there is a setback of at least 2,500 feet between fossil-fuel facilities and residential areas.”

Hope of a breakthrough

The executive director of the California Public Utilities Commission recently demanded that the gas company respond to the community uprising with facts about alternative sites, the actual need for the expansion and how building new infrastructure fits into the gas company’s promised efforts to de-carbonize California by 2045.

After the Limon-Bennett public meeting, the CPUC is requiring answers from Southern California Gas (but not yet an EIR) before any work can proceed at the location near Olive and Stanley in West Ventura.

Please attend the meeting and learn more. Thank you.

— John Brooks of Oak View is a board member of Climate First: Replacing Oil and Gas (CFROG)

 

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