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Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Trio Petroleum Well Permit Denied at Monterey County Planning Commission

August 2014
Salinas Vineyards The proposed Trio well is in the aquifer of vineyards and farm land; this water, by permit, is for agricultural replenishment needs in the Salinas Valley. (Photograph: Steve Zmak)

On July 30, a request from Trio Petroleum for a one-year temporary use permit to test-pump a pre-existing well off Jolon Road in Bradley that had been fracked by Venoco, Inc in 2008 was heard at the Planning Commission. Currently the site has 2 wells both with expired permits and both are in violation of their conditions that the site be restored to its predevelopment state.

Trio proposed to reopen the well and test specific zones within the existing bore-hole that is 10,400 feet deep to determine if commercial quantities can be produced. Furthermore, the well was being processed by a Categorical Exemption from CEQA review because it is an existing facility that proposes temporary operation and no expansion of existing facilities. It should also be noted that the area in question is suffering critically from the drought with less than 4% reserve in San Antonio and less than 19% reserve in Nacimiento so it is not clear where the water for this well injection and withdrawal will be coming from. The water in this aquifer which is adjacent to vineyards is, by permit, required to be used for agricultural replenishment in the Salinas Valley.

The well permit was denied 8-1 by the Commissioners. It was determined that more in-depth analysis should be required before Trio could proceed. A next step would likely be an Initial Study. Ventana Chapter has requested to be noticed by Monterey County Planning Department about all upcoming steps towards a permit.

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