ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE WORK GROUP
PRELIMINARY SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT TO
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA KAMALA HARRIS
BY HON. NATE HOLDEN, TRANSITION TEAM MEMBER
THE INGLEWOOD (BALDWIN HILLS) OIL FIELD
The Oil field located in the Baldwin Hills area adjacent to Stocker Street, LaCienega Boulevard and LaBrea Avenue is a detriment to the health and safety of the community in the surrounding area. This oil field has been in operation since early 1924. The companies operating in that oil field have been Standard Oil, Chevron and Plains Exploration & Production Co. (PXP), to name a few that have engaged in oil and gas exploration at that site.
The extraction of oil at the Baldwin Hills site since 1924 has compromised the stability of the soil to the extent that we have severe land erosion. Property owners in that area have repeatedly complained that their walls and ceilings are cracked and their homes are beginning to be rendered unsafe to live in. The streets show deep cavities (sink hole) and are rendered unsafe because of soil erosion. Residents in the area have complained about breathing problems and other types of illnesses at a rate in excess of what is known in other parts of the city. A class example of soil erosion in that area is when the stability of the Baldwin Hills dam was compromised in December of 1963 and the walls gave way and all of the water in the dam flooded the entire community below, killing five people (Baldwin Hills Reservoir Collapse).
After the collapse of the Baldwin Hills Reservoir, geologists and other civil engineers advised the County of Los Angeles not to permit any further development in that area. The land was zoned not for residential use. Standard Oil who was operating the field at that time agreed not to drill anymore wells and cap all the wells operating at that time by 1980. Standard Oil agreed to sell the Baldwin Hills Park site land. While in the State Senate, I introduced legislation in the State of California to acquire the land, which is now known as Kenneth Hahn Park. Standard Oil also agreed to sell the remaining oil field in the area to the State of California, which would increase the size of the park. Obviously they reneged on the deal.
For example, the new operator, PXP, is planning to drill 1,000 additional wells and if allowed to do so, it would destroy the entire region for the right to live near that site. There are other factors contributing to the detriment of the quality of life in that area, such as Fracking. This method is used to extract natural gas, which causes hydrogen sulfide gas be emitted into the atmosphere. That is air pollution at its worst. Also itÕs a known fact that Fracking is continuing to contaminate the water tables 40 – 70 feet below the surface, which creates a danger to the health and safety to all living things in the region. The County of Los Angeles and the EPA have been lax and unwilling to correct the problems at this site. The people in the surrounding area have been so disappointed in their government agencies that they have filed lawsuits, asking the court to intervene and demand that PXP cease and desist from any further land erosion or pollution of our air and water in the area.
The Attorney General in the State of California has a role to play in protecting the health, safety and welfare of the people in this area. The Attorney General shall be pro-active in demanding that the Regional Water Quality Control BoardÕs and the Water Replenishment DistrictÕs authority and powers be restored.
Further the Attorney General shall give an opinion denying PXP from any additional activity in the area, unless and until these problems have been corrected.
Attorney General Kamala Harris, Transition Team Environmental Justice – Holden / Datig 02.09.11
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