In our last newsletter, we ended the Oil Field section stating that the Initial Study/Negative Declaration was fatally flawed and that the Initial Study should be withdrawn and a new study be conducted, and that our protest letter would hopefully get the State to reconsider this issue. Much more to follow.
Well, look what we stirred up!
First, a little history. Initially, the CCNA board found out that the Crest residents weren’t notified about the result of the study and the resulting Negative Declaration by the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) regarding the 24 new wells that PXP was requesting to drill. Once we accidentally found out about the ruling, our Board wrote a letter of protest and called for an independent EIR to be performed, eventually threatening a lawsuit as the last resort to assure proper procedures were followed in approving PXP’s request. Then, as a result of our rattling a few cages, Culver City, Los Angeles County and the State of California have entered the fray.
Now, not only is there going to be a complete and thorough EIR performed, personally conducted by L.A. County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke’s office, but a full criminal investigation has commenced looking into the conduct of certain DOGGR employees with regard to oil companies past requests which have historically been approved with little scrutiny. These employees are directly connected with approval of oil field activities for the State of California. It appears that there are a lot of suspicious activities between the oil companies and these employees that have already been uncovered and two managerial employees have been put on leave pending the result of this inquiry.
It seems that one of these employees owns stock in one of the oil companies for which he approved additional drilling and that he solicited donations for a charity for which his wife works, both violations of State law. There are also emails that were sent from this employee to the oil company that will prove incriminating.
A big thanks to the work done by John Kuechle. Mark Salkin and especially Ken Kutcher regarding the major effort they did regarding this issue. It appears we now just have to wait for the EIR to be completed to find out just what activities PXP will be allowed to engage. However, we could rest assured we have some major hitters on our team that will give us more comfort that whatever action does occur, our safety will be a major consideration. Even Governor Schwartzenegger has entered the arena and indicated his office is very interested in finding out about any irregularities by DOGGR and will monitor the progress of this situation very closely.
You can rest assured…SO WILL WE!