Conservation groups seek to stop oil wells in Santa Paula Canyon

Los Padres ForestWatch and the Center for Biological Diversity have filed a joint appeal to the Ventura County Supervisors over the Ventura County Planning Commission’s decision to allow 19 new oil wells in the Santa Paula Canyon. The appeal halts a zoning clearance needed by the oil company prior to beginning drilling.

The zoning clearance was approved on Sept. 7. As part of the approval, the oil company must prove that it has complied with steps outlined by the drilling permit, which ForestWatch and the Center allege have not been fulfilled, specifically, that the company failed to provide proof of liability insurance in the event of an oil spill, prove implementation of measures to protect endangered species such as the California condor, and adhere to Ventura County Landscape Design Criteria.

“It is unconscionable that the Ventura County Planning Commission would give a green light to begin oil drilling in Santa Paula Canyon when even the most basic permit conditions have not been met,” said Jeff Kuyper, ForestWatch executive director. “We are filing this appeal to restore accountability to the county’s permitting process, and to ensure that the oil industry complies with standards to protect the environment.”
The wells would run near a popular hiking trail in Santa Paula Canyon.

Denver, Colorado-based Carbon California Company LLC, which made the initial request for the 19 new oil wells, did not respond to a request for comment.

Oxnard’s global credit rating takes a hit

Standard and Poor’s Global Rating has downgraded the city of Oxnard’s general fund credit rating from A to A-, along with the general fund supported debt, in what City Manager Gregg Nyhoff calls disappointing.

“We are disappointed with this downgrade. The City Council, community and staff have all had to make difficult decisions to return this city to fiscal health. S & P recognized those efforts by removing the negative credit watch, changing us to a stable outlook,” said Nyhoff.

While S&P’s outlook states that it believes stability is on the horizon for the city, it notes that future litigation resulting in an adverse judgment could result in another downgrade. Should the city weather litigation and prove that it “no longer pose[s] a significant financial risk,” the city could be upgraded upon reevaluation.

“The better the rating, the greater the savings,” said Oxnard’s financial adviser Phillip Curls.

Nyhoff says in a statement that the “City will focus on achieving the upside scenario as recommended by the S&P report.”

Ventura pedestrian bridge gets makeover

Mirror, mirror on the wall, which bridge is the fairest of them all? That’d be the Ventura pedestrian bridge, soon enough, as remodeling has begun giving the oft-used overpass a makeover for accessibility.

The bridge at the end of Ash Street, crossing over U.S. Highway 101 in Ventura and leading toward the Ventura Pier, will be enhanced to accommodate persons with disabilities. The work will include adding landings and hand rails to meet standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Total budget for the project is $760,000 and will not require closing of the 101 highway. The bridge is now closed and estimated to reopen in early to mid-November.

CSUCI named one of top 10 safest campuses in U.S.

If you’re attending California State University, Channel Islands, worry not for your safety, apparently, as the college has been ranked within the top 10 safest campuses for 2017 by an online higher education statistics company.

CollegeStats.org developed the list by comparing crime statistics and rates of the top 100 most-attended schools in the United States, and ranked CSU, Channel Islands, ninth.

“We have an amazing public safety staff,” said CSUCI’s Acting Chief of Police Michael Morris. “I think the cause for this outcome is the fact that everyone on this campus — faculty, staff and students —understand that campus safety is a shared responsibility.”

Ride a bike

It’s official: Ride Week is back! Happening next week, Oct. 2-6, people who work or go to school in Ventura County and pledge to use an alternative mode of transportation — carpooling, vanpooling, walking, biking or riding the bus, etc. – at least once during Ride Week will be entered into a prize drawing for one of four $100 VISA gift cards.

Over half of all air pollution in Ventura County comes from mobile sources, according to the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District. Traffic congestion is also getting worse.

“Commute choices impact our wallets and our community,” said Darren Kettle, Ventura County Transportation Commission executive director. “When we rideshare, we save money, reduce our household emissions and decrease congestion on the local roads and freeways.”

This year’s Ride Week slogan, Go Green Save Green, focuses on the many sustainable, affordable travel options available in Ventura County. VCTC provides intercity bus service, carpool partner matching, a Guaranteed Home Program for workers who rideshare on a regular basis and much more. Visit www.goventura.org/rideshare for details.

To make the pledge and enter the Ride Week contest, visit www.rideweek.org by Oct. 11.