In the face of a passionate group of residents who demanded that the city not even meet with the new owners of the Culver City oil fields, Monday’s City Council vote to talk with Sentinel Peak Resources (SPR) was a difficult one, but we believe it was both prudent and responsible for the future of our city.
Because the city’s Environmental Impact Report and Specific Plan are not yet ready, taking time to meet with SPR will not delay this process at all. In short, the process will continue while discussions take place.
As the city continues its work on the environmental analysis, the city council’s subcommittee will sit down with SPR, during the next 90 days, to evaluate whether there is a reason to accept the new operator as an applicant for an EIR and, if so, agree on a workplan for developing a new specific plan and EIR.
If an agreement can be reached with SPR, there would be some positive benefits for the city:
SPR would reimburse the city for all the work in developing the EIR and Specific Plan going forward;
SPR would have to volunteer to follow a “moratorium” and not submit any application for new drilling while this process with the subcommittee continues (Currently, SPR can apply and start the approval process for new drilling at any time); and
SPR would also have to agree to make this agreement survive and transfer to a new owner if it were to sell the oilfield during this process.
The city council subcommittee will return to the full council with a progress report in 90 days. At that time, with more feedback from the public, the council can decide to continue working with SPR or release the original EIR and Specific Plan, which should be completed by then.
We remain hopeful that talking to SPR may lead to a better ultimate outcome for the community while we continue to move down the EIR path. If discussions are not fruitful, we have lost nothing – not even time, since we’re not ready to release our EIR anyway.
It is important for us to continue working toward the best possible outcome for Culver City’s residents, and that can only happen if we are willing to both listen and make our demands known.
Göran Eriksson, Jim Clarke