Fracking Los Angeles: What Life Is Like on the Country's Biggest Urban Oilfield
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And I think in that aspect we need to stop -- limit the blood loss of what they're doing, and are planning on doing, and rebuild the communities and work together. Basically, I say ban this fracking idea. It's something that's only profitable for the oil company. And it's getting at the dredges of stuff, and we need to look at newer technologies, and it's bleeding a dead horse. And what happens when that's gone? You're ended up with brown fields and contaminated ground and water. And who's going to end up having to pay for that is us again. We are really not going to get any benefit out of any of this.
SA: When did they start fracking these oil fields?
GG: The fracking date was actually back in ... I believe it's in 2004 -- I'll have to let you know the exact date on that. Paul Ferrazzi found the literature within the inner memos of the organization where they were kind of bragging on fracking in the oil fields here. And from that is where we basically, even at the time, we went to the supervisors saying, "You know what? They're fracking here." And I had a meeting at the Ladera Center, and the supervisor's assistant, Karly Katona (Deputy to Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Second District, County of Los Angeles) said, "No, they aren't fracking here; they're never going to frack here." And I said, "Well, yes, they are." And basically made me like I was this nut case.
And well, what are they doing, and what have they done? So, we basically have to go back and inform. We're continually going ahead and letting the community know that this is what's going on.
SA: So, when you found out that they were already fracking these oil fields, what did you do? Are they fracking right now? What's the plan? I understand that there was some sort of negotiation that went on, so they've now lowered the number of sites. So, if you could talk a bit about that so we have a picture of this largest urban oil field, contiguous urban oil field in the country.
GG: Originally they wanted to do 1,000 wells in this oil field, and through negotiations we got it down to 500 and some change. But they basically want to drill 53 wells for the next 20 years, and after that they can continue pumping, actually getting, exporting the oil out of there for the next 100 years if they can. There's apparently 65% of this sludge or crude basically in the ground where they want to use this fracking technology with the chemicals and polymers to get at it, and then also, to top that off, they want to put a couple steam injection plants over here, too, to just even heat it up more so they can pump it out quicker and easier. It's basically just going to make these hills vibrate.
SA: And when you say, "negotiate," who are you negotiating with?
GG: We were negotiating against the oil company, PXP -- Plains Exploration and the county of Los Angeles. There were four of us that were suing the county and the oil company. It was Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community; the Community Project; the NRDC with the Community Health Councils; and the City of Culver City. We got consolidated underneath one judge, and just did a lot of arbitration for a long, long time.
SA: What would you like to see happen?
GG: Personally, I say ban fracking. It's just not a viable outcome for the risk. The risk factor doesn't outweigh what the oil company's making. They're the ones that are profiting on this, no matter how you look at it. Either they get the oil out, they're making money on us with this, and/or if they cause a catastrophe here, there again they get money, too. I mean, Halliburton's good for coming into communities that are wiped out and cleaning them up also. So, it's a win-win for them, and I don't really see where the communities get any actual benefit.