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Ventura County Approves Moratorium On Some New Oil, Gas Wells While Pollution Concerns Explored

Ventura County
Mike Powers steps down immediately as Ventura County CEO

Ventura County Supervisors approved an emergency moratorium on new oil and gas wells in the county, as well as the redrilling of existing wells which use steam injection. The concern is about potential pollution of water supplies.

Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett called for the temporary ban, citing a U.S. Geological Survey report indicating some petroleum-related gases might be migrating into the Fox Canyon aquifer system. The system provides drinking and agricultural water to parts of western Ventura County.

Peak Oil has proposed more than 70 new wells for the area, which is already zoned for the facilities. Dozens testified on both side of the issue Tuesday afternoon.

Opponents say the federal report doesn’t show there is a documented issue, while moratorium backers say it shows there are concerns which needed to be studied. County Supervisors unanimously approved a 45 day moratorium to allow review of the issue.

It could be extended in increments up to two years. Existing oil projects aren’t impacted.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.