‘Green, Not Greed’ Grassroots Coalition to Speak for Environmental Justice at L.A. County Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on Tues., Oct. 29 at 9:30 a.m.
LOS ANGELES (October 28, 2013)—Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina will be joined by dozens of environmental justice advocates and grassroots community members countywide to express firm opposition to proposed oil drilling by the Matrix Oil Co. in the Whittier Hills – pristine open space purchased with nearly $17 million in Proposition A tax dollars meant for environmental conservation and land protection.
- Gloria Molina, Los Angeles County Supervisor
- Residents of Whittier – including members of Whittier Hills Oil Watch (WHOW)
- Monsignor John Moretta, Resurrection Church
- Daniel Rossman, Sierra Club
- David Allgood, League of Conservation Voters
- Irma Muñoz, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) and Mujeres de la Tierra
- Belinda Faustinos, California Coastal Commission
- Antonio Gonzalez, Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project (SVREP)
- Elva Yanez, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust
- Dan Knapp, Los Angeles Conservation Corps
- Danny Oaxaca, San Gabriel Conservation Corps
- Claire Robinson, Amigos de los Rios
- Kirsten James, Heal the Bay
- Glen Drake, Los Angeles Community Garden Council
- Rick Marquez, Highland Park Boy Scouts
- Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp.
Public Hearing on Proposed Oil Drilling in Open Space Prop. A Land in Whittier Hills
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.
Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 West Temple Street, Room 381B
Los Angeles, CA 90012
“Oil and open space don’t mix,” said Supervisor Gloria Molina. “When taxpayers approved Prop. A in 1992 and again in 1996, we promised that a vote for Prop. A meant support for land preservation and animal habitat restoration – not oil drilling. We’ve purchased hundreds of acres of land across Los Angeles County using millions of Prop. A dollars. To allow oil drilling on land in Whittier acquired with Prop. A monies would set a dangerous precedent. We cannot allow it. Both the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and the City of Whittier have violated the public’s trust. The MRCA promised it would support land acquisition deals solely for environmental protection and Whittier promised it would use Prop. A funds to convert a former oil site into protected habitat. This ‘bait and switch’ would not be tolerated in the Santa Monica Mountains – and it won’t be tolerated here either. Our fight is about civic integrity and environmental justice – values shared by people from across Los Angeles County who believe in land preservation and open space protection.”
In 1992, the City of Whittier received $9.3 million in Prop. A funds for the “acquisition of natural lands and related facilities” in the Whittier Hills – 1,280 acres of open space which the city agreed to operate and maintain “into perpetuity.” The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy allocated $7 million more in Prop. A monies to the Whittier Hills project to “facilitate the preservation of park and open space land.”
Now the City of Whittier wants to drill for oil here. Whittier already has leased the land to the Matrix Oil Co. – a private oil drilling firm – for 25 years. Matrix would be given the right to drill for oil underneath all 1,280 acres. Despite the fact that Prop. A dollars were vital in purchasing the Whittier Hills land – and Prop. A funds are paid for by taxpayers from throughout Los Angeles County – the City of Whittier claims all oil profits should be shared only by Matrix and Whittier! Their lease also would:
- Permit Matrix to operate on a 24/7 schedule;
- Allow for construction facilities, earth moving, grading, oil and gas pipelines, debris, oil processing facility construction, and waste operations;
- Permit tanker trucks measuring up to 58 feet to transport oil and water off-site up to six times per day during drilling and monitoring; and
- Allow for a final project drilling phase of up to 57 additional wells!
The proposed Whittier Hills oil project sits next to an active Whittier Fault Line, increasing the potential for oil pipeline ruptures and spills. Apart from disrupting core protected habitat, creating visual blight, closing hiking trails, and subjecting the local community to noise, air, and potential water pollution, the potential Whittier Hills oil project could set a dangerous precedent for the use and development of open space purchased with Prop. A dollars in communities throughout Los Angeles County.
CONTACT: Roxane Marquez, Communications Deputy, (213) 974-4111 (office) or (213) 598-5463 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org