Underground gas storage facilities under scrutiny in new report

In 2015, an underground natural gas storage facility ruptured, releasing fumes into the nearby community of Aliso Canyon. The disaster has since become the largest of its kind in history, and now, a report released by the California Council on Science and Technology paints a grim picture regarding 13 other such facilities — including one in Ventura County.

The report, dubbed “Long-Term Viability of Underground Natural Gas Storage in California,” shows that gas companies do not disclose to the public what chemicals are being pumped underground, nor what gas they are storing, and that state regulators do not have an accurate assessment of the risks posed by wildfires, earthquakes and landslides.

The Aliso Canyon leak, nearby to Simi Valley, created a gas cloud that reportedly made nearby residents ill and the community uninhabitable for months.

“This is not just a San Fernando Valley problem — 1.5 million Californians live near giant gas fields and they deserve to know what chemicals are being pumped underground, and if the companies operating these gas fields are doing so safely,” said State Sen. Henry Stern, D-Canoga Park. “Action must be taken to ensure the corporations that own, operate and profit from these fields also bear the risk of their failure.”

To read the full report, visit www.ccst.us/projects/natural_gas_storage/publications.php.

Free bikes for Thomas Fire victims Sunday

The Ventura Bike Hub will be presenting brand new bicycles donated via Giant Bikes of Newbury Park to victims of the Thomas Fire this Sunday, Jan. 28, during a group build event.

The bikes, 200 Momentum iWant Park bikes, will be given to residents who can show proof of identification matching the address of affected homes.

“It means so much to be able to shift our priorities after a disaster strikes our community and we’re just so honored we can do our part to bring a little relief to people that lost so much,” said Joey Juhasz-Lukomski, director of Ventura Bike Hub. “A bike can go a long way to restore a person’s sense of freedom, and people need that after a tragedy like this.”

The Channel Islands Bicycle Club will be donating lights and helmets to go with the bikes, says Juhasz-Lukomski, adding that there has been no shortage of volunteers to help with the event.

“It’s shown us how this community can rally. It’s amazing.”

The event will take place on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2-4 p.m. at The Ventura Bike HUB, 490 N. Ventura Ave., Ventura. For more information and how to apply, visit www.bikeventura.org.

Oxnard residents invited to clean-energy forum

If you’re a resident or business owner in Oxnard and have an opinion about whether or not the city should join the Los Angeles Community Choice Energy (LACCE) program that promises cleaner and potentially less expensive electricity, then prepare to attend a community forum on the subject Wednesday, Jan. 31, at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center & Convention Center.

The City of Oxnard is considering joining the program, which would give Southern California Edison customers a “greener, cleaner, and cost-effective alternative option to power their homes and businesses with energy generated by solar, wind, geothermal and hydro-electrical energy.”

The program, approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 2017, is an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, allows customers to choose their utility providers and gives cities and counties control over power procurement and rate settings.

The forum will be held Jan. 31 from 6-8 p.m. at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center & Convention Center, the Ventura Room, 800 Hobson Way, Oxnard. For more information, call 385-7593.