Letters to the Editor
February 29, 2018

To the Editor:
The Fillmore Basin, an aquifer that sits below the city and extends beneath the Santa Clara River locally, is the only source of water for local residents and farmers.
But the safety of this basin and its water supplies is currently under threat from plans by the oil industry to double the size of the Sespe Oilfield uphill from the city, which would over time allow for hundreds of new oil wells to be drilled in an area where around 400 oil wells are already located.
California’s Department of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources, DOGGR for short, has been planning for this expansion for some years now. Unfortunately their 159-page analysis of this proposal omitted any discussion of the risk to the Fillmore Basin from an earthquake on the active San Cayetano fault, which runs east/west close to the north end of Goodenough Road.
The San Cayetano fault has been studied in published journals. In December 2001, the
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America published an article that concluded that the fault’s last major quake, in around 1812, caused the ground along the fault to shift by 4.3 meters, at an estimated 7.5 on the Richter Scale.
While DOGGR concluded that the Fillmore Basin is safe from oilfield contamination, the seismological evidence suggests otherwise. A major quake would disrupt oil wells, their casings and the multiple pipelines across the Sespe Oilfield, which is only about a half mile uphill from the Fillmore Basin’s northern edge, near the end of Goodenough Road. DOGGR conducted no risk assessment of this fault - though they know it’s there - and no analysis of how a major quake could pollute the Fillmore Basin.
Then there’s the one big pipeline that transports all the oil from the oilfield down the hill past Fillmore. It actually crosses the faultline. This represents another potential hazard to the Fillmore Basin in an earthquake.
There are hundreds of wells in the Sespe Oilfield already. Adding perhaps hundreds more only puts Fillmore’s water supply at increased risk. The City of Fillmore wrote opposing this proposal. The Fillmore Basin’s management board just voted to send a letter expressing their concern.
The people of Fillmore have an opportunity to voice their own concerns. On Tuesday March 06, at Fillmore’s Active Adult Center, 533 Santa Clara Street, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., local groups have organized a letter-writing campaign opposing this oilfield expansion. Please come along for a few minutes!
Alasdair Coyne,
Keep Sespe Wild,
PO Box 715, Ojai