Dear Editor – Our Dangerous Oil Field

Light-bulb-0003-300x198Dear Editor,

The last thing most of us want to think about is the dangers we are facing.

And yet here in Culver City we are facing dangers, and we must think about them. Otherwise, how can we act to protect ourselves?

We’ve heard of these dangers before. They’re just as real and just as extreme today as they were when we first considered them. In no particular order they are: The danger of airborne toxins from oil drilling operations on the Inglewood Oil Field, potentially causing you and your family asthma, cancers and neurological disease. The danger of a major earthquake triggered on or near the Inglewood Oil Field by tremors when a huge amount of dirty water is shot under enormous pressure down an injection well. The danger of greater and greater amounts of methane leaking or spewing from the oil field, further poisoning our air and worsening climate change. The danger of oil drilling under La Ballona Creek, with all the attendant harm that would cause our water and wildlife. Etc.!

We can’t stop these dangers overnight. But when we, the City, are taking steps to protect ourselves and fellow residents, we sure don’t want to put the brakes on. And yet that’s what happened.

Culver City was on a path to release a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) associated with updating our oil ordinance to the public for our review. It was due out near the end of May, but never released. By now, in late June, residents eager to review that EIR would have done so and communicated their comments to the City. We would have been that much closer to putting protective regulations in place.

Instead, when the new oil field operator, Sentinel Peak Resources (SPR), contacted the City and requested that the City not release the draft EIR, the City responded by holding a special City Council meeting in mid-April. At that meeting the City Council considered whether to release the draft EIR on schedule or instead launch into negotiations with the oil field operator. And on a 3-2 vote, the City Council opted for the City to enter into further discussions with SPR for 90 days, after which they would report back to the full City Council and residents. One option open to the City Council would be to extend the discussion period by yet another 90 days.

That long-awaited City Council meeting is fast approaching: Tuesday, July 11. I will be there, and I hope you’ll be there too. Maybe you’ll step up to the podium during the public comment period and persuade our council to put an end to SPR’s stalling and to release the draft EIR—finally!

Rebecca Rona-Tuttle

The Actors' Gang

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