Opinion: Bravo to supes for not being bullied

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John Brooks. 


By John Brooks

It was bad timing for the pro oil lobby and any county supervisor to be asking Ventura County to surrender to the oil and gas industry over new health and safety regulations.


As thousands of gallons of crude oil were washing ashore Oct. 5 in Huntington Beach from a pipeline rupture, 1st District Supervisor Matt LaVere was telling the oil industry, “It’s absurd, there is no way we will lie down and surrender to the 11 lawsuits the oil industry has brought against the Ventura County General Plan update.”

Supervisor Carmen Ramirez declared “no capitulation” when Supervisor Kelly Long (elected with thousands of dollars from Big Oil) said more settlement conferences should be held.

Supervisor Linda Parks was equally adamant that health and safety remain the priority and will not be sacrificed for industry profits.

The issue was the proposed increase in county funding from $1 million to $2 million to pay for outside lawyers to defend against the oil-industry lawsuits that are trying to eliminate new provisions in the 2040 General Plan. The oil lobby opposes a bigger buffer zone between new wells and schools and homes. They want to continue wasteful flaring of natural gas and to keep using tanker trucks instead of pipelines to move the oil, gas and wastewater. (Even pipelines are not risk-free.)

With the public clamoring for action to reduce exposure to air pollution that causes adverse birth outcomes and warms the planet, it’s past time to have a General Plan that moves Ventura County forward. Bravo to those officials who won’t be bullied by the oil industry.

Yes, spending $2 million of our tax money bothers me, but let the polluters drop their lawsuits. They are to blame for wasting money.

After the motion to approve the increased funding failed 3-2, it was modified at Supervisor Long’s request to include another settlement conference (which the court requires anyway) and the motion passed 5-0 with Supervisor Long and Supervisor Bob Huber then voting yes.

As one who has questioned my new supervisor’s words not matching his vote in Upper Ojai, I was pleasantly surprised to see Supervisor LaVere lash out at false advertising by the oil companies. It was made easier on a day when oil-covered dead fish and birds were washing up on the beach.

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


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