Dear Editor – ACLU Not Persuaded by PXP

Dear Editor,

I attended this community meeting:

Date: 15 October 2012
Time: 6:30 pm – it was supposed to end at 8:00 pm, but, due to massive turnout and many residents wishing to speak, ended at 9:30 pm and many people remained after for animated conversation.
Location: Knox Presbyterian Church
5840 La Tijera Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90056

* Large church was packed. Huge turn out from area residents.

* Many individuals had DONE THEIR HOMEWORK and came prepared with facts & figures of consequences due to FRACKING elsewhere across the USA.

* Many individuals had read and analyzed in depth the “study” in question. Found many flaws of (a) methodology, (b) facts reported, (c) interpretation of fact, and (d) logical extrapolation of fact.

* Study done by geologist who claims objectivity and even handedness, but, of course whose career would be severely curtailed if his findings were to infringe on the industry from whence comes the bulk of his business.

* Peer Review. Fault was found with claims to have had “peer review.” Not the normal “blind” review by “multiple” reviewers. Two “reviewers” were openly “selected.” One was present at this meeting the other was not. Needless to say, the reviewers gave their blessing to the study.

* Some contradictory statements, as well as many more highly guarded statements, by study geologist simply raised more questions and anxieties. Having done their home work, several community residents pointed out not only “sins of commission,” but, also, “sins of omission” by noting a number of relevant issues not factually addressed in the study.

* Fracking is the cracking up (fracturing) of a geologic formation in order to have it release oil it otherwise prevents from being captured by wells.

* Once a geologic formation is “fracked,” the resulting fractures need to be kept open so that oil can flow, be extracted, through those fractures. To maintain open fractures, sand is pressure-pumped into them so to prevent them from re-closing. To keep the sand in place within fractures, chemicals are mixed with the sand.

* Data from few current short term test drills, do not address effect of:
– A projected very large number of wells to be drilled for economic feasibility.
Effect of one ” test well” is not same as effect of hundreds of “working wells.”
Pressure kept at legal limit in a test well is not the same as pressure used in working wells
operated for profit purposes to produced the most product possible.

* Data from test done for a few days, does not address long term effect of wells operating for several years.
A one-time-injection into an otherwise untempered geologic formation is not the same as long-term injections. Geologic formation might be able to with stand a one injection, but be unable to withstand continuous injections over long periods of time.

* Industry (in this case PXP) and geologists hired by industry, claim that both water and chemicals are extracted, filter-cleaned, and continuously reused.
– Transparency and accuracy of claims that NO chemicals are left in the ground was severely questioned by community folks. Claims and counter claims by company representative, study geologist, and reviewer were far far far less than convincing.

* Interesting statement made repeatedly by company representative, study geologist, and reviewer:
This part of California contains the world’s (the globe’s) largest deposit of oil, larger than Middle East, etc.

* Clearly community folks were both anxious about consequences of fracking and incredulous of factual claims by profit-driven company spokespersons and experts they hired. Comments I overheard included deep disappointment in elected&appointed officials who might be less concerned with community protection than with corporate influence.

All the best,
Rudy
Rodolfo ALVAREZ
Chair,
ACLU-SC Committee on Civil Liberties and the Environment

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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