PICTURED: The Ventura County Planning Commission during the July 16, 2020 meeting. Still from live broadcast.
by Kimberly Rivers
The following is a correction to the VCReporter article from July 23, 2020, “2040 General Plan heads to supervisors.”
On July 16, the Ventura County Planning Commission reaffirmed a General Plan policy banning all flaring of natural gas in oil fields, which was approved in September 2019 by the Board of Supervisors.
Mitigation measures for impacts the flaring ban may have on the oil industry were included in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the General Plan. Both documents were being reviewed by the planning commission.
Commissioner Phil White (Dist-1), planning commission chair, raised concerns about those mitigation measures effectively reversing the ban, as they created a pathway for an oil company to declare the flaring ban infeasible, which would then allow the county to grant permission to flare, in opposition to a stated policy.
Jeffrey Barnes, Ventura County Counsel, clarified planning staff was “not recommending” that the flaring ban mitigation measures be approved.
The final language that now goes before the supervisors includes the flaring ban without any potential loopholes in the mitigation measures.
Goals, policies and programs aimed at reducing emissions to combat climate change are included throughout the General Plan and labeled as the county’s Climate Action Plan. But in the analysis conducted during the EIR, the policies and programs will not meet the stated goals and therefore the EIR cannot legally be certified by the county.
In order to meet requirements for certification, the planning commission approved language that changed the goals of the Climate Action Plan policies from achieving certain targets to “working toward” those targets.
These changes will be considered by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 1.
The July 23 VCReporter article is online at: https://vcreporter.com/2020/07/2040-general-plan-heads-to-supervisors-no-climate-action-plan-but-proposed-oil-and-gas-restrictions/
More information on the General Plan is online at: https://vc2040.org