Students vs. obesity in Santa Paula CA

Let me belatedly post the main story I have been at work on for the last six months or so, as part of a Reporting on Health fellowship, about obesity — and those battling it — in Santa Paula.  Turns out, appropriately, it's students and young adults who have taken up the fight. Not toContinue reading “Students vs. obesity in Santa Paula CA”

Ventura squeezes area injection well firm on two fronts

The company has two injection wells on a site located on unincorporated land near Oxnard. Since 2010, according to records from the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, at its main well the company injected 2,195,364 barrels of oil-field-related fluids at a depth of approximately 5,000 feet.

Ventura County busts fracking injection well in Oxnard

From the Ventura County Star, news today of a police bust of an injection well site in Oxnard — the only site in the county that accepts fracking fluid for disposal purposes. 

OXNARD, Calif. – Investigators from the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office converged on the site of a local oil field waste company outside Oxnard on Thursday with search warrants.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Christopher Harman said investigators arrived at Anterra Corp.’s waste disposal site on East Wooley Road outside Oxnard on Thursday morning. The company’s headquarters in Santa Paula was also served, he said.

Harman said he could provide no further details about the open investigation of possible criminal violations.

Anterra officials had no prior warning of the searches and had not been interviewed by any agency before the investigators arrived, company attorney Jim Prosser said Thursday.

Prosser said he understands that investigators are looking at company activities in and around July 2013, when Anterra was under different management. He declined to say who was managing the company at that time, saying he didn’t know enough about the circumstances and the time period under investigation.

Interesting, but the timing mentioned by the corporation doesn't seem to jibe with this note from our local watchdog group, CFROG, which posted this a month ago about what sounded like an on-going dispute between the county and the corporation. 

The Ventura County planning department is alleging that in just five months, at the Anterra Waste injection wells in Oxnard , the company injected 19.2 million gallons or 457 thousand barrels or of waste into two disposal wells on East Wooley road. (42 gallons = 1 barrel) They allegedly accepted a total of 4350 tanker trucks when the CUP allows 3096. (still far too many for safety in Oxnard in our opinion.) That's 1254 trucks coming down our highways and streets in violation of the current permit according to Ventura County. Class II underground injection wells. can take any fluid related to oil and gas drilling, including fracking waste water.

Anterra is appealing the decision on some interesting grounds including claims that planning manager Brian Baca is unethical and a hearing will be held October 23rd.

For some reason the Star story today did not mention this dispute over the volumes of fluids being disposed beneath Oxnard, although you must figure it's at the root of the conflict. It's well-known among geologists that there are thresholds to be attained before seismicity becomes possible. which is why the volume of fluids can be a crucial matter. But the paper has three reporters on this, so I'm sure we haven't heard the end of it.

Was just talking today with a geophysicist at UCSB who said a new study from CalTech found "induced seismicity" — earthquakes connected to injection wells — at a handful of injection wells sites in Kern County, out of a total of 1600.  

So why worry? Right? 

But the Ventura County D.A. has issues, clearly, when they send what looks like a SWAT to collect records from a corporation. Why the urgency if they're investigating what happened a year ago?

Anterraswat

 Follow-up from a commentator, Quiet against the Noise, in the "comm boxes" below the newspaper story, who seems to know more than all the rest of us put together. See here (or below the fold).  

Record CA drought hits illegal pot grows

From a story in last week's Ojai Valley News:

Three years ago, local narcotics officers eradicated about 168,000 marijuana plants from Ventura County's backcountry.

This year, they've found much less — closer to 100,000.

So is that good news or bad?

Neither, say law enforcement officials. California's historic drought is drying up more than just lakes and reservoirs, it's draining the creeks and aquifers far upstream — the ones that marijuana growers utilize to water their gardens, which often contain thousands of plants.

"We had one up in Coyote Creek … and half of the grow was abandoned," said Sgt. Mike Horne of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office (VCSO) Narcotics Bureau. "They're just running out of water." In another grow near the Ortega Trail, he added, "When we went to cut it, it was gone — the reservoir had dried up."

Arguably this is burying the lede. It's not a question of good news or bad news. It's simpler — the drought is devastating everyone, even the illegal farmers ready and willing to cut corners.We may recall the Biblical words from Matthew: the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. Here's a new version: the drought hits the law-abiding farmers and the unlawful farmer alike.

More detail from Misty Volaski, editor of the paper, below the fold, with a pic from a back country grow in Rose Valley busted last month.  

RoseValleygrow

Drought comes to Ventura county: VC Star

Drought can be a slow-motion crisis, and that's what it's looking like here in Ventura County, from an in-depth story from the Ventura County Star: During this third year of drought, crops in Ventura County will go unplanted, farmworkers will lose jobs, plants and trees will see more salt-related stress and growers will begin followingContinue reading “Drought comes to Ventura county: VC Star”

A Tale of Two Towns: Can a federal grant make a real change for the poor in Ventura County? | Reporting on Health

For an upcoming fellowship in health reporting at USC's journalism school, I'm working on a couple of long-form stories. This is the first of them — a look at how a federal grant aims to balance the scales of health for poor people in Ventura County. Hope it's of interest.  A Tale of Two Towns:Continue reading “A Tale of Two Towns: Can a federal grant make a real change for the poor in Ventura County? | Reporting on Health”

Ojai has the oldest population in Ventura County: Study

Sometimes the news you would like to cover is not the news you encounter in a day at work — but it's still news. Here's just such a fact which tumbled, unannounced, from a 127-page assessment of Ventura County's overall health by its healthcare agency, in a major report released in December (2013), whose fundingContinue reading “Ojai has the oldest population in Ventura County: Study”

Santa Ana winds, Ventura County, and fire: 2013

A couple of weeks ago I published a long story about climate change in Ventura County today but didn't mention shifts in the timng of Santa Ana winds. This despite the fact that from talking to Alex Hall of UCLA, a couple of years ago, I knew that evidence suggests that Santa Ana winds nowContinue reading “Santa Ana winds, Ventura County, and fire: 2013”

Climate change and VC: the good, the bad, and the odd

From my Earth Day cover story from the Ventura County Reporter: California does not need fear hurricanes, but it does every few years face El Niño, an oceanic shift that drives unimaginably vast amounts of water across the Pacific and up against the coasts of North and South America, raising the sea level by asContinue reading “Climate change and VC: the good, the bad, and the odd”

Fracking in Upper Ojai: the latest

Fracking — which as you all no doubt know is the injection of water and chemicals below ground at pressure, to break up rock formations and release natural gas and/or oil — has come to rural Upper Ojai and Ventura County. In truth, fracking turns out to have been going on in this area for aContinue reading “Fracking in Upper Ojai: the latest”