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Southern California Gas Company public forum on facility expansion, March 31

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Southern California Gas Company natural gas compressor facility at 1555 N. Olive St., Ventura. 

By Kimberly Rivers Ojai Valley News reporter
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On Thursday, March 31, from 10 to 11 a.m. and from 6 to 7 p.m. Southern California Gas Company is hosting the first of two public forums at which the company says it will present the results of a feasibility study it was compelled to conduct as the public became aware of plans to expand a natural gas compressor facility in West Ventura along the Ventura River.

A community coalition is also planning a rally at the 6 p.m. meeting saying the event is being held at a "luxury hotel, far from and inaccessible for many Westside residents who do not own vehicles." The group is calling for a full Environmental Impact Report and ultimately is seeking the shut down of the compressor facility.

The meetings are being held in person at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel, 450 E. Harbor Blvd., Ventura. 

Virtual call-in meetings are also being held: Tuesday, March 29, from 6 to 7 p.m. and on Saturday, April 2, from 3 to 4 p.m. Each virtual meeting has an option to log in via a computer or smartphone, or to call in via telephone only. 

The facility, at 1555 N. Olive St., Ventura, is located across from an elementary school and Boys and Girls Club building and was found to be leaking methane during a statewide exploration by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in 2019. (1)

SoCalGas officials call the project a “modernization” plan and will update the facility and increase the horsepower of the compressors to be able to push more natural gas, north into Santa Barbara County, to meet demand. Part of the expansion plan included cleanup and removal of contaminated soils that contained Contaminants of Potential Concern on the site over 100 years of various operations at the property.

Information on the Westside Clean Air Coalition and the rally is online at: https://westsidecleanair.org/ and at: https://www.mobilize.us/fww/event/447630/

 

As local residents learned about the expansion and clean-up plan, concerns were expressed regarding impacts to air quality and whether an environmental review had been conducted. The Ventura City Council voted to send a letter to SoCalGas and the California Public Utilities Commision (CPUC) requesting that a full environmental review be conducted that included considering alternative sites for the facility. The CPUC is the governing agency for the project.

The results of that study is what SoCalGas says it will be presenting at these town hall meetings. The second town hall is scheduled for Saturday, April 2. 

Online registration is required. Details for the meeting and the presentation being given are online at: https://www.socalgas.com/stay-safe/pipeline-and-storage-safety/ventura/community-meeting

The SoCalGas slide show being presented at the meetings is online at: https://www.socalgas.com/sites/default/files/Ventura_Virtural_Town_Hall2-EN.pdf

  1. https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/a-third-of-california-methane-traced-to-a-few-super-emitters

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