An Open Letter to Runners in Ventura County
Yes on Measures A and B
May 19, 2022
Dear runners of Ventura County,
Belonging to various, diverse running communities in our county over the years has been a big part of what I love about our region. Having met and run with many of you, I’m writing to ask you to consider voting YES on Measures A and B in the June 7 election.
YES on Measures A (on coastal areas) and B (on non-coastal areas) simply means that all new and expanded oil and gas operations conducted with old (1930s-1950s) permits (that, by the way, never expire) in our community are required to undergo an environmental review to meet present-day public health and safety standards – the same environmental review that all holders of modern permits currently undergo right now. NO on Measures A and B means that oil and gas companies will operate without such oversight.
By voting YES, we as runners can ensure that all new and expanded oil and gas operations in the neighborhoods and landscapes (like the Ventura Bike Trail) where we live and run are conducted as safely as possible to protect our community. Currently, the vast majority of permits (over 5000) governing such operations, impacting over 125,000 acres of our county, were granted before adequate, basic environmental and public health safeguards were put in place.
The risks that oil and gas companies are taking in our community with these old permits are considerable. In many places oil wells are drilled through aquifers, threatening to contaminate our water supply. The negative health impacts on people living in proximity of oil wells due to pollution are also well documented. The people of West Ventura, South Oxnard, Santa Paula, and Fillmore are especially vulnerable.
When there’s good reason to believe that any action may negatively impact communities and/or environments, those in favor of such action bear the burden of proof to show that the risks are acceptable. This is called the Precautionary Principle, and applying it is standard procedure when deciding what to do. AERA Energy (jointly owned by Shell and ExxonMobil) and Chevron, pushing for a NO vote, haven’t done their duty here.
As a local runner, I’d like for our representatives to have the opportunity to assess all new and expanded oil and gas operations, and evaluate their impacts on our air, water, roads, and trails. Not to mention their impacts on our friends and families. While old permits don’t provide us that opportunity, voting YES on Measures A and B certainly does.
Thanks for being a great community to me. Looking forward to seeing you out there on the trails.
Runners for Public Lands