Culver City Observer -

Dear Editor:


Because I believe in democracy, I proudly served our country during the Vietnam war. Today I feel compelled to serve the USA, our State of California and the people of Culver City by speaking out on how Big Oil is trying to buy out the very democracy so many risked our lives to preserve.

As other oil companies have lobbyists trying to buy out our state by funding campaigns for weak and ineffective regulations, I get concerned that PXP may try to buy out Culver City. For example, PXP and the State oil and gas regulators spoke to over 100 people at a meeting in March at Kenneth Hahn Park. Most everyone left irate and angry.

The people felt the presentation was slick and oily and that the people were talked down to and not given adequate answers. Shortly after this, PXP presented the Culver City Educational Foundation with a $20,000 check. C'mon, PXP, we're looking the gift horse in the mouth.

How can we call these gifts "community benefits" when the potential damage to our school children's lungs and brains from possible gas leaks -- if we let them frack our city -- will cost our kids and their parents much, much more. And you know, by 2028, PXP plans to put 100 wells in Culver City. Is this what we want our City to become? Another Carson?

The State hearing on regulating fracking to be held in Culver City Hall on June 12 raises questions for me. How can you adequately regulate something that is not proven safe? Regulate a procedure that is known to cause earthquakes? That can cause fires and toxic emissions a mile or so away that burn for days? Didn't we learn this sad lesson back in the 1985 Ross Dress for Less fire that hospitalized many people?

Can PXP prove that they will not trigger the Big One? That their fumes will not make us sick? I don't think so. Maybe the regulations need to require PXP to put up enough money (not the paltry sum the County was satisfied with) and put it in an escrow account to insure our City and our schools from potential damages.

Better yet, our City needs to do a Budget Analysis of the costs to Culver City should PXP trigger a disaster here. Remember, we are sitting on an active 7.4 earthquake line. In the military we analyzed worst case scenarios so we could be prepared.

Use the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico to model what would happen if there were a landlocked similar operational "mistake" here. Are we prepared for a fiery inferno spewing toxins? Anybody here really want to die for oil and be labeled "collateral damage?" And if you survive -- what of your quality of life?

What would this do to our businesses? Our restaurants as destination spots? Is it worth taking such risks?

As I read the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, Forbes, business and investment journals about this, which is world-wide -- the ones who stand to profit most from this very risky process of hydraulic fracturing are the Oil Co. world companies. The ones who bear the brunt of the hidden costs are the people and their children whose health, safety, property and quality of life all too often get damaged or destroyed.

Unlike the ignorant, evil or blind politicians who sell their people out, I trust that each of our Culver City Council and all of the people will show up at the State hearing and (like Pittsburgh's City Council) demand that the "regulation" be a ban on frcking until it can be proven safe. The FDA does this before it approves a drug. Any company, including PXP, needs to first prove it does no harm.

Neil Rubenstein

Culver City


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