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Dividend Board Gives Extension to Oil Wells

An energy corporation has won Ventura County’s permission to continue operating three oil Wells in the Upper Ojai for 10 years after dropping plans for new Wells that conflict with the county’s recently adopted general plan. Voting 3-2 Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors extended Carbon California Co.’s operating permit.

The company pursued a 25-year term and the county Planning Division proposed 20 years. But Supervisor Matt LaVere’s suggestion for 10 years secured the bare majority required for passage.LaVere along with administrators Kelly Long and Bob Huber voted in favor while supervisors Carmen Ramirez and Linda Parks opposed the extension.

Dividend Board Gives Extension to Oil WellsEnvironmentalists had wondered where LaVere stood on local oil drilling issues. He was elected to the board last year. He succeeded Steve Bennett, a staunch environmentalist who led a successful effort to place new limits on the oil Wells in the unincorporated areas of the county. Bennett, who left the board under term limits, is now a state assemblyman.In remarks to fellow supervisors Tuesday, LaVere said he was not excited about Carbon’s project but did not believe he had grounds to oppose it.He said that transparency and fairness and good government mean when we have rules in place, we have to follow those rules even where we don’t agree with the result.

The freshman supervisor said the project complies with zoning regulations, Ojai Valley’s land-use plan, and the county’s new 2040 general plan that contains rigorous new restrictions on the oilWells. The permit also allows continuous use of a flare that incinerates produced gas plus trucking of oil on Koenigstein Road, a county road near the 20-acre site east of Ojai.

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