Dear Editor – Getting Educated About Fracking

Dear Editor:
On Tuesday, Aug. 21, Americancinematheque Theater in Santa Monica hosted a Fracking Awareness Night to inform the audience about hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”), a controversial method of extracting hard-to-get gas and oil. There was high energy among the approximately 75 people who attended. The films Gasland and The Sky is Pink were screened and a panel discussion, organized by Transition Culver City, was held, focusing on fracking in the Inglewood/Baldwin Hills Oil fields, the largest contiguous urban oilfield in the country, possibly in the world.

According to one panelist, Tom Williams, Sierra Club’s Cal-Frack specialist formerly employed in the oil industry, the difference between the drilling & fracking shown in the film GasLand (on the East Coast) and what’s happening here… is US — there are so many people here! The risks are so great, said Mr. Williams, “Why aren’t more people saying ‘There’s something wrong with this scenario!'”.

Panelist Paul Ferrazzi, executive director of Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community emphasized concern about the location of the oilfield over a complex series of earthquake faults and the real possibility that fracking could trigger an earthquake event.
“They have been Fracking here since 1957.But now there is “enhanced oil recovery technology” developed by Halliburton, that includes hydraulic fracturing to force reserves under high pressure. This is what we see as the reserves get more difficult to access,” said Ferrazi.

Meghan Sahli-Wells, Culver City Council Member also served as a panelist pointed to the lack of disclosure about activity in the local oilfield that effects thousands of residents, businesses and schools. She asked the striking question, “Are fossil fuels the future or the past? Shouldn’t we be demanding… screaming for clean renewable energy? Our homes, schools, businesses and parks: Are they worth more than the oil? When the oil is gone and the company leaves, who will pay?”

The moderator, Donald Strauss,of Antioch University in Culver City, had additional comments to enrich the discussion: “As grim as this news is, we need to educate people at all levels about the place, L.A. We’re on an amazing coastal plain. It used to be incredibly lush, then ranches, then agricultural land– this area was the MOST PRODUCTIVE agricultural county in North American. We have an environmental history. We need to engage in teaching people about place. Students of all ages.”

Please get involved in actions to ban fracking until proven safe by independent (not industry skewed) research. Here are a few actions in which to participate:

Upcoming PXP Annual Community Day, tentatively scheduled for September 19, at which they plan to present their fracking study.
Culver City will soon present its proposed revision of its oil field ordinance. Your participation will be valuable.
On Sept 10th, Culver City Council will discuss forming a citizen’s Oil Field Safety committee. Please show up and weigh in about this opportunity for citizen participation.

Michelle Weiner
Transition Culver City

The Actors' Gang

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