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Fracking Los Angeles: What Life Is Like on the Country's Biggest Urban Oilfield

Unregulated fracking is happening in Los Angeles communities and residents are taking action and raising their voices in protest.

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SA: I attended the fracking meeting that CCSC organized at the Park Hills Community Church on Saturday, June 2nd, in Baldwin Hills, adjacent to the Inglewood Oil Field. Paul Ferrazzi is one of the founders of CCSC.

Paul Ferrazzi: They keep saying, "It's safe, it's safe, it's safe," but yet they ended up getting the waiver of the requirement of the Safe Water Drinking Act. If they believed it was safe, they wouldn't be asking for those EPA waiver privileges.


SA: Dr. Tom Williams is an international oil field specialist and Sierra Club Los Angeles Chapter Califrack Director. He answered people's questions about fracking and the oil and gas industry.

Tom Williams: Here's one for you. In 2006, near the intersection of Pico and Figueroa in downtown L.A., they had an oily ooze come in to manholes and to basements. Oily ooze. There's an oil field under Staples Center, and they were doing pressure recovery and something popped. I spent 72 chargeable hours, one of my best chargeable hour periods, in three calendar days; charged all to the Los Angeles Fire Department. I became very familiar with 3rd and Fairfax. There was the Ross Dress for Less corridor explosion because of natural gas in the walls and in the ceiling. And it showered debris onto 25 people who had to go to the hospital. Lawsuits, yeah, things like that.

I personally have seen an old badly abandoned oil well in the Wilshire Courtyard construction site on Wilshire, across the street from the Page Museum, blowing out, personally. Risk realized. Vapors, changes in the ground surface. We know that happened with smaller pressure, less pressure than in fracking. So, when you have secondary recovery and fracking going on at the same time, you may have even more of a problem.


SA: Margaret Bowers is a resident of Ladera Heights, a neighborhood adjacent to the Inglewood Oil Field.

Margaret Bowers: I don't know anything unless I get an e-mail from Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community. And the other thing I want to tell this body here today is that we really have to keep the pressure on the county supervisors. We in Ladera Heights, at one of our monthly meetings a few years ago, when you were informing us, "you" meaning Citizens Coalition, was informing the Ladera community about fracking, we had a representative from the County Supervisor's office, Karly Katona stand up and browbeat this gentleman (Gary Gless), saying that, "There is no fracking and will not be any fracking," and now we're hearing about fracking. Fracking doesn't happen overnight. Don't let them fool you. And there's another election coming up, so we just cannot take this sitting down.


SA: Sally Hampton is a member of CCSC.

Sally Hampton: My feeling, especially knowing where we get our water is that we're going to have water shortages, is that even if they're fracking in the "middle of nowhere." We get our water maybe from a river that's not even near here. We (Baldwin Hills) get our water from a well right now, but even people who don't get waters from wells next to oil fields have to be concerned because their water is going to come from somewhere where it could be affected by fracking fluid.


SA: Brenna Norton is with Food and Water Watch, and is an organizer for the statewide ban of fracking in California.

Brenna Norton: They're fracking in the Sacramento Valley, which is, as you know, we get a lot of our water from northern California, right? So, this is a source of drinking water for 20 million Californians, and they're fracking in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay delta area.

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