Feb 13, 2020

In a recent interview, Ventura County Supervisor candidate Carmen Ramirez parroted activist-driven falsehoods on water safety in Oxnard, claiming that “scientific evidence” showed oil production activity had “contaminated” the aquifer.

As we have noted before, the claim that aquifers were contaminated by oil production in Oxnard is bogus and completely unsupported by the facts:  

  • Experts at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) have explicitly stated that their study did not conclude oil field activity was the cause of thermogenic gases being detected in deep water wells.
  • The USGS study pointed out that the gases detected were “naturally-occurring” and could have resulted from “natural vertical migration” underground.
  • Other experts have noted that the low level of dissolved gases found in groundwater samples does not exceed any drinking water standards established by California regulatory authorities.

In sum, the argument that oilfield activity has put the aquifer at risk is false and misleading. While it is no surprise when activist groups target oil producers with erroneous claims and scare tactics, it is truly unfortunate when elected officials join in the charade.

Oil production in California occurs under the strongest environmental and public health protections in the world, and more than 25 government agencies at every level – from local and regional to state and federal – regulate every step of the production process. When it comes to water safety, local oil and natural gas production is regulated by the US EPA, California State Water Resources Control Board and Regional Water Quality Control Boards.

Carelessly amplifying misinformation and stirring public alarm on water safety is regrettable, to say the least. But even more ridiculous and disappointing is Ramirez’s comment that oil producers are “opposed to keeping our drinking water safe.”

Oil producers are part of the Ventura County community. The employees of these companies live in the same towns, send their kids to the same schools, and – yes – drink the same water that everyone else does. They are proud Californians who want the best for their families and neighbors. 

Ramirez should be ashamed to demonize Ventura County’s oil producers as somehow opposed to clean water. Comments like the ones Ramirez gave in her interview are dangerously detached from reality. These comments spread falsehoods, alarm the public, and divide our communities.

Ventura County deserves better from its leaders.