Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Not In Under My Backyard!

 Howdy friends and neighbors of the hills!

When some folks think of "oil country" they think of ten gallon hats, rolling ranches and rich oilmen addressed by two letter monikers like "JR." Folks old enough to remember black and white t.v might also think of California as the land of "swimming pools" and "movie stars" where a rich oilman should "move away" to.

I think a lot of folks would be surprised to learn though that California has a rich history of oil drilling all it's own and to this day, black gold is still flowing out of it's many oil fields.

One of these fields is the Inglewood Oil Field in the Baldwin hills. The Baldwin hills are bordered by the communities of Culver City on the east, the L.A. Mid-City district to the north, the Crenshaw district, Ladera Heights and Kenneth Hahn State Park on the east and finally the View Park/Windsor Hills neighborhood to the south.

These areas represent a mix of both rich and not-so-rich folks with a common enemy neighbor, Plains Exploration and Production (PXP). When PXP put forth a proposal to drill 600 new wells, the neighbors got mighty upset and worried about what might happen to their property, scenic vistas and health.

These folks have a right to be concerned. The Baldwin Hills Dam tragedy of 1963 caused widespread property damage and claimed the lives of 5 people. The cause of the collapse was traced to subsidence from the nearby oil field.
(Stanford University.)

Baldwin Hills Dam Disaster and Flood
[Sorry about the sound, it cuts off about midway through the clip, comes back on and then cuts off again right before mentioning the oil field as the cause of the disaster.  This isn't "my" clip so I can't do anything about the sound.]

Today, folks are still complaining about cracks in their homes and foundations they feel have been caused by recent activity in the oil field.

For about 2 years now, residents and community groups have been meeting with city officials and representatives of PXP to resolve their issues but things haven't always gone smoothly, especially when PXP distributed fliers that claimed “The Inglewood Oil Field has been safe and productive for 85 years.”

Uh,  folks have long memories when it comes to major disasters that happen in their own backyards!

Maybe Texas-based PXP can be excused for not knowing about something that happened 48 years ago, this was before they moved to "Cali-for-knee-ah", but how do they explain "forgetting" about not one, but TWO releases of noxious fumes in 2006 that led to the evacuations of "dozens of people, and affected more than 500 homes?"  Did PXP forget it was operating the Inglewood oil field in 2006?!

According to the Culver City Patch, PXP hasn't been doing much better since then either:

Addressing concerns over excess fumes emanating from the field, Mohsen Nazemi, deputy executive officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, said his agency has put PXP on a “hot list” for more frequent monitoring.

The company received no notices of violation in 2009, but got slapped with three in 2010, which it addressed in a timely fashion, Nazemi said.

Source: Culver City Patch,"Residents Meet to Discuss Oil Drilling-Residents gather at the Veteran's Memorial Building to express concerns regarding drilling in the Inglewood Oil Fields," by Natalie Ragus, February 24, 2011

The affected folks in the Baldwin hills area all live on the edges of the PXP operated Inglewood oil field but what would it be like to live inside the boundaries of a PXP oil field?  That's the million dollar question facing us folks here in Montebello where PXP's real estate partner, Cook Hill Properties, has proposed to build 1,200 housing units in the Montebello hills, the very same hills that will still be a working oil field long after these homes are built and occupied!

Drilling for oil in your backyard sounds bad enough but what would it be like to have it done RIGHT UNDER YOUR HOME?

With PXP's record on "public relations" forget "nimby", . . . "numby" is more like it!

Daisy Mae

No comments:

Post a Comment