Ventura, CA, February 11, 2022 – Ventura County announced that consistent environmental requirements for oil and gas drilling would return to the ballot this year in the form of measures A and B. Both measures would eliminate the use of “antiquated” permits in Ventura County. In some cases, these permits are nearly one hundred years old. They never expire and do not require environmental review as mandated by modern permits.
Such protections had been in effect after a Ventura County Board of Supervisors vote that required consistent permitting for all oil and gas wells. Immediately after it was passed, the oil industry spent nearly one million dollars to overturn Ventura County’s decision by paying signature gathers to qualify a referendum. This paused the newly won protections and sent it to the June 7th ballot to be voted on.
In response to the ballot measure announcement, Food & Water Watch Central Coast Organizing Manager and a VC-SAFE campaign leader Tomás Morales Rebecchi issued the following statement:
“For too long the oil and gas industry has used antiquated permits as loopholes to drill wherever they want with no environmental review, even on top of our precious groundwater resources or right next to our homes. Measures A and B will solidify the protections already approved by our Board of Supervisors in 2020. Once again the fossil fuel industry is fighting these protections because of their bottom line, but California’s direct democracy is meant to empower citizens and not corporate interests who prioritize profit over people. Ventura County must vote yes on Measures A and B to ensure consistent permitting for the oil and gas industry and the basic environmental regulations to protect public health.”
Led by grassroots groups, community members and environmental nonprofits, the VC-SAFE (Ventura County Save Agriculture and Freshwater for Everyone) coalition will officially launch a campaign in support of Measures A and B on February 17.