Pictured: A mountain lion was struck and killed by a vehicle on highway 126 near Fillmore. Aug. 4, 2021. Photo credit: Cougar Conservancy. 

by Kimberly Rivers

Local oil company divesting Ventura operations

On Aug. 5, 2021, California Resources Corporation (CRC) reported the company had “signed agreements to divest operations in the Ventura basin,” valued up to $102 million, “plus additional earn-out consideration that is linked to future commodity price.”  

Stock values of oil companies are based on developable assets, or oil and gas still in the ground. 

According to state records held by the California Department of Conservation, California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGem), CRC owned 2,345 oil and gas wells in total as of Aug. 9, 2021. This includes 456 active wells, 1,105 listed as idle and 753 categorized as “plugged and abandoned.” 

The company’s website reported that its assets in the Ventura Basin represented about 2% of its “estimated proved reserves” as of the end of 2020. 

State records of all of California Resource Corporations oil and gas wells in Ventura County: CRC Ventura County 08092021

Ventura seeking public input on two plans

The city of Ventura is updating two major planning documents, the General Plan and the Active Transportation Plan. Both documents govern land use and planning decisions for the next 20 years within the city boundaries. 

A survey for the General Plan seeking input on Natural Disasters-Climate Change is live through Aug. 30 and a survey for the Active Transportation plan is active through Sept. 15. 

Links for the General Plan and related surveys are online at www.planventura.com.

Links for the Active Transportation Plan are online at www.activeplanventura.com. 

Mountain lion hit, killed in Fillmore

On Aug. 4 the Cougar Conservancy reported that an uncollared, adult mountain lion was found dead along highway 126 near Fillmore with fatal injuries consistent with being struck by a vehicle. 

“This tragedy shows just how important it is to uphold the Ventura County wildlife connectivity ordinances passed two years ago. Increased protections and more wildlife crossings could save these iconic cats from local extinction,” said J.P. Rose, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, which is also working to get protections for mountain lions under California’s endangered species laws. “We don’t need any more evidence that mountain lions face far too many threats in Southern California.” 

Driver accused of killing teen cyclist to be assessed for mental competency

Samuel Rocha, 28 of Oxnard, will have a hearing to determine his competency to stand for trial related to charges against him for intentionally striking a group of teen bicyclists in Port Hueneme on April 19, 2021. One teen died as a result and several others were injured. 

Criminal proceedings will be paused while mental competency is assessed. The court will determine whether or not Rocha understands the charges against him.

Prior to the question of his competency being raised by defense counsel, Rocha pleaded not guilty to a count of murder, two counts of battery and four counts of attempted murder. 

The battery charges stem from an unrelated incident at a laundromat immediately prior to the bicycle incident. 

Rocha is being held in jail, without bail. 

Rebates available for EV charging station costs

Beginning on Aug. 5 businesses, commercial properties, multifamily residences and local government facilities are eligible to apply for rebates ranging from $30,000 to $80,000 for electric vehicles charger purchase and installation costs. 

Called the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP) and in partnership with the Clean Power Alliance (CPA), the program aims to incentivize specific property owners to install EV charging stations. 

The higher ranges of funding available are meant to be directed to disadvantaged or low-income communities and for Level 2 chargers at multifamily housing in all communities. 

For more information on the CALeVIP electric vehicle incentive program, visit: www.CALeVIP.org. 


Round 4 of local COVID Business funding available

Ventura County is announcing the fourth round of COVID-19 impact funding for businesses and nonprofits  that did not receive grant funding in the past three rounds. Those eligible are invited to apply for $10,000 grants beginning Aug. 19 at 8 a.m.

The deadline to submit applications is Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. 

The state of California is also opening up additional rounds of funding for certain eligible businesses, including those that were waitlisted in previous funding rounds. Information on the state funding opportunities is online at https://careliefgrant.com. 

Application information for the county funding grants is online at www.vcbusinessgrants.org.

Groups petition federal government to protect wolves

Central Coast-based Los Padres ForestWatch joined a coalition of over 70 Indigenous peoples groups and organizations from western states in signing a formal petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to relist the gray wolf as an endangered species in the western United States under the Endangered Species Act. 

Recently a collared wolf was tracked to the Central Coast as far south as San Luis Obispo County, at which point the collar stopped emitting a signal. 

“The wolf known as OR-93’s spectacular journey from Oregon to California’s Central Coast…demonstrated that not only is there potential for gray wolves to once again call California home, but that the species is in urgent need of better protections across its range,” said Bryant Baker, conservation director with Los Padres ForestWatch.