A virtual community conversation about transitioning the regional energy system away from gas to clean energy will be presented at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 23 by 350 Santa Barbara.

Guest speaker Tomás Rebecchi of Food and Water Watch will address Southern California Gas Company’s (SoCal Gas) proposed expansion of the Ventura Compressor Station. Area residents receive gas from Ventura and there is concern about continued dependence on fossil fuels when other energy sources cost less.

Register here to attend the free event.

In 2021, the neighborhood of westside Ventura County banded together as the Westside Clean Air Coalition, and has been battling the SoCal Gas Compressor Station renovation

They object to the toxic chemicals found in the soil; noise pollution; air pollution linked to health problems such as heart disease and respiratory ailments; and increased risk of deadly accidents and explosions. 

Since SoCalGas was responsible for the largest natural gas blowout in the U.S. at its Aliso Canyon storage facility in 2015, the fears of Ventura residents are justified. The Aliso Canyon explosion released about 100,000 metric tons of methane and other pollutants into the atmosphere, and leaks are ongoing.

On the front lines between old and new energy models, the struggle over the Ventura compressor station has caught the attention of state officials and the general public, showing how grassroots action and a call for a just transition has the potential to shape a community’s future.

In response, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold public meetings on a just transition away from natural gas. The first CPUC webinar is set for 10 a.m. March 16.

In April, the next Community Climate Conversation will focus on regenerative agriculture. The series will conclude in May with a discussion of environmentalist Paul Hawken’s book “Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation.”

For more, email the 350 Santa Barbara steering committee: 350santabarbara@gmail.com.