Why is oil and gas extraction near homes and schools a problem? Let the New Chemicals on the Block share a bit about themselves...
On June 9, Redeemer Community Partnership filed a petition with the City of Los Angeles to hold a public hearing for Nuisance Abatement at the Jefferson Drill Site. The action asked the City to enforce existing conditions and impose new health and safety protections equal to those the Planning Department has extended to wealthier, whiter West L.A neighborhoods.
Based on the evidence presented, the City responded favorably requiring Freeport McMoRan Oil & Gas (FMOG) to demonstrate their compliance with all conditions in preparation for a public hearing.
FMOG hired an expensive law firm, Gibson Dunn, to tell the City that they would not follow the law and failed to comply with the City’s order by the September 1 deadline.
The City has now responded by telling FMOG that they are responsible for complying with the law regardless of what their legal counsel advises. The City has given FMOG a new deadline and warned them that the City will hold a public hearing with our without FMOG’s compliance.
We are very encouraged by the City’s actions on behalf of our community.
[Read the LA Times Article on LAT.com] [Read LA Times Article as PDF]
Each summer, kids in our neighborhood enjoy 4 weeks of fun at Adventures Ahead - playing games, learning math, practicing reading and science. This year the science theme was earth science. The kids learned about the earth and the importance of caring for the environment. The final week of Adventures Ahead Summer's science time was focused on environmental health and the chemicals used at the Jefferson Drill Site in our neighborhood. Many of the kids still remembered the Canary Advocacy Day from last summer and were so excited to learn about air pollution, health impacts of chemicals, and the "heroes" or solutions to pollution.
The kids created costumes and skits to illustrate the characteristics of the chemicals and how they can affect health. We concluded the week with a fun bingo review game! Check out the photos below and the video highlighting some clips from the skits!
Years of work compiling community testimonies, gathering evidence and documenting violations at the Jefferson Drill Site led to the filing of a Nuisance Abatement Petition with the City of Los Angeles last week. This unprecedented action against an oil drilling site, seeks City enforcement of existing conditions and the imposition of new health and safety protections equal to those the Planning Department has extended to wealthier, whiter West L.A neighborhoods.
The City Planning Department has required West LA drill sites to enclose their operations to protect nearby residents. Sound proof enclosures shield residents from loud noises, light pollution, noxious fumes, and oil fluids. The Jefferson Drill Site has a history of spraying adjacent homes, streets, and nearby parked cars with oil.
The Nuisance Abatement process creates an opportunity and obligation for the City to correct a historic wrong. Our community was home to residents for decades before the City allowed Union Oil to demolish homes to build the Jefferson Drill Site. In 1999, the Planning Department allowed the oil company to sell vacant buffer properties next to the site to real estate developers. The City imposed deed restrictions surrendering new residents’ rights to complain about any nuisance from the drill site. Instead of buffer properties protecting residents, the Planning Department turned children and their families into buffers for Big Oil.
The City is reportedly reviewing the petition with city lawyers.
The LA Times wrote a great piece on the nuisance abatement filing and what it could mean for our community. Click the links below to read it.
We are very grateful to VICE News for coming out to South LA and spending a morning with Redeemer Community Partnership to learn more about how the Jefferson Drill Site has impacted neighbors. The film does a great job outlining the disparate treatment of communities with drilling sites.
Additional Press Coverage on the documentary:
LA Curbed - Watch How Risky Oil Drilling Has Seeped Across LA