Fracking Los Angeles: What Life Is Like on the Country's Biggest Urban Oilfield
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So, they're taking this information and then trying to come up with some sort of regulations on how this can be done that I don't know how you can regulate an earthquake if you cause it. So, it'll be quite interesting what they come up with on their studies here, how they think they can potentially do it safely in a state that's known for earthquakes and the dangers here.
SA: And Gary, how has this changed your relationship to your neighborhood? To your home? What is the connection for you to human rights issues and to democracy?
GG: My home. Gosh, my home is not my home anymore. It's a place where I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life, and it looks like I'm more or less, at one point, going to just end up having to leave. And people that I thought were protecting us, I mean, that was my belief growing up, that we had elected officials and government agencies that were looking out for us, is not there. The more I look into this, the more I see that the oil companies are the ones that run the country. They have the money, they have the power, and it's just -- people, if we don't get up and scream about what's happening, it's going to be a continuous thing. I've had to put my life on hold just trying to put the word out to the people. And all this stuff ... I mean, all it takes is to go on the web site; look it up yourself. Listen to people; listen to your neighbors; see what's happening in your community, and you'll start screaming, too.
SA: Gary, when was this that you became concerned?
GG: The concern happened basically back in 2006. Then our organization was formed about five years ago when we went to other groups trying to find out more information and realized not everything that we thought was pertinent to the community as the risks and dangers was going out there. So, we formed the organization, Citizens Coalition.
SA: So, you had meetings in your home, in churches, schools throughout the community. Who did you form Citizens Coalition with?
GG: The basic crutch of our organization is with Paul Ferrazzi and Margrit Cheesboro. We have a lot of volunteers that give us a hand when we have our meetings for sign-ups, and we have hundreds of people that at times will show up to a meeting.
SA: You formed it because there was dissatisfaction with some of the neighborhood groups that were dealing with the issue. If you could talk with me a little bit about what you mean by that?
GG: When we first had the meeting places, it went to the Community Health Councils, and then they formed their own group, which was called "The Greater Baldwin Hills Alliance." When that came, finding out that the directors were all self-appointed and that anything that we wanted to put out there to the community regarding the health risks and the dangers was basically not going out there. And they basically led everybody to believe that it would be a "clean and green" oil field, and it is an oil field, and I can't see that there's any such thing as a "clean and green" oil field. If you're on a field that's leaking, it's always going to leak. I mean, every well bore that's out there is going to leak. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it.