Over 50 people were present Friday morning at the pubic meeting on hydraulic fracturing held by the Culver City City Council Drilling Subcommittee together with Assemblymember Holly J. Mitchell.
The meeting was an opportunity to present opinions and concerns regarding the use of hydraulic fracturing in the oil well drilling process.
Most people that addressed the Subcommittee and Assemblymember Mitchell called for a permanent ban on fracking in the Inglewood Oil Field, or at least until there has been extensive research and environmental studies deeming it safe.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a technique used to release petroleum, natural gas or other substances for extraction. During the process millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are shot underground at high pressure to fracture rock that surrounds oil so it can flow into the well.
Mayor Andy Weissman told the assembled crowd at the outset, “The concerns over fracking are multi-jurisdictional, regional concerns and even statewide, which should be addressed comprehensively. However, in taking steps to ensure fracking and its impact can be regulated by the City, Culver City will be vigilant in protecting the environment and our community.”
Assemblymember Mitchell said, “I am pleased to be here to continue the conversation and engage in an issue that’s critical to all of us as Californians. My hydraulic fracking reading stack is almost as tall as I am. For all of us here it truly is ground zero in our backyard."
Many of the opponents who spoke to the Subcommittee pointed to the potential environmental impacts, including earthquakes, the contamination of ground water, air pollution and the migration of fracturing chemicals to the surface.
“We need to talk to our Culver City Council to ensure that residents are protected and fracking is halted here in Culver City until proven safe,” said Brenna Norton of the nonprofit environmental group Food and Water Watch. “We all know any statewide legislation could take time in the legislative process to be introduced and implemented and Culver City is here in the crosshairs. It only takes one accident and there are over a hundred wells planned to be opened in the Culver City portion alone.”
“We know that if you destroy the substructure of the earth that is already unstable seismically it only becomes worse,” said resident Jane Brockman. “We cannot have fracking in this part of the United States especially where there are millions and millions of people who will suffer the consequences.”
Dr. Tom Williams, fracking team coordinator of Sierra Club California, spoke on the importance of drafting a fair ordinance and preparing an Environmental Impact Report with a long-term view in mind.
“A programmatic EIR is required by Culver City so that everybody knows what’s going to happen this year, next year and maybe the 10 to 20 years that an oil field is continually operating,” he said. “Just remember if you put water in and take the oil out, you’re changing the fundamental structure of the earth beneath Culver City.”
Culver City resident Rebecca Rona-Tuttle, delivered a tearful plea to the Subcommittee to be environmentally responsible.
“I have two sons and three step daughters and four grandchildren. I worry about them every day," she said. "This planet is so priceless. I ask you please to do what you can in any way you can to do your part.”
According to Culver City City Attorney Carol Schwab, the City Ordinance being drafted would probably be ready by late March. The primary concern is that the Ordinance stays within the legal limits set by The Community Standards District and conforms to The California Environmental Quality Act processes so that it can withstand legal challenges. However, the City welcomes all comments and any supplemental information the public has that may assist them in preparing the ordinance.
If you would like to submit information or comment on what you would like to see in the ordinance, send it to the attention of Sherry Jordan by any of the following means:
- By LETTER to Planning Division at Culver City City Hall, Planning Division, 9770 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232 (310) 253-5710
- By FAX at 310-253-5721
- By E-MAIL to firstname.lastname@example.org