Inglewood Oil Field dominates the conversation around Culver City

By Dennis J. Freeman

City Editor

The city of Culver City appears to be at a crossroads when it comes to what to about the Inglewood Oil Field (IOF). Opinion vary among the community on this issue.

There is no unanimous consensus one way or another. Concerns over safety and health and the real possibility of a natural disaster such as an earthquake resulting from the drilling at the Inglewood Oil Field is a grave concern to some Culver City residents.

The City Council's Oil Drilling Subcommittee, led by Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells, held a community meeting around this subject last Thursday to answer questions from residents about this issue and a proposed amortization study of the Culver City portion of the Inglewood Oil Field.

A city staff report on May 28 recommended to OK an agreement with Baker & O'Brien $363,00 to conduct this amortization study on the Inglewood Oil Field. In translation, the technique of amortization is to write down the value of an intangible asset. In Culver City's case that would be the city's portion of the Inglewood Oil Field. An additional $32,000 was recommended to be used for technical support around the study.

Set aside, the City Council staff committed a total of $395,000 from the city's general fund to conduct the amortization study. The amortization study came about because councilmembers decided last year to place a hold on a 2017 Inglewood Oil Field Specific Plan draft and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that came with heavy public feedback that was all over the place, including concerns about oil activity and regulation efforts.

As a result of all of this, the City Council requested expertise on the matter that would help it navigate past the smokescreen of community input to get a much clearer picture on what is really going on around the Inglewood Oil Field, thus the agreement with how Baker & Brien came into play.

"Ultimately, Baker & O'Brien stood out as the firm uniquely and best qualified to prepare an amortization study and assist the City with evaluation of potential amortization options for non-conforming, oil-related activities and end-of-field life considerations within the City portion of the IOF," the city staff report states.

One of the things that Baker & Brien is tasked in doing is making a determination of the market rate of the return investment in gas and oil production and then find the rate of return to discount the net income to its present value.

Not everyone is satisfied with what the city is doing, study or not. FreeFrackLACounty submitted written testimony to the Culver City councilmembers as well to members of the County of the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors in respect to the Community Standards District (CSD).

The groups states its concern around the 2008 Environmental Impact Report, which they is losing relevance to the issue surrounding the Inglewood Oil Field, considering three major factors: accelerated climate disruption, a need for an upgrade in technology, aging infrastructure, and the lack of moral accountability when it comes to the health of the public.

The chief concerns are health, safety risks, possible earthquake risks as well as possible fires and explosions.

"Given the escalating costs of dealing with climate disruption, in addition to the health risks, safety risks, and the escalating extinction of species and life on this planet as we've known it (all of which isoccurring on a daily basis), the current CSD review challenges us all, for both personal and social, economic and health reasons to stand on high moral ground," the report says.

The FreeFrackLACounty letter goes on say that clean energy is the way of the future.

"We no longer need to risk our lives and all that we value for fossil fuel production, when we have thiswindow of opportunity to produce more and better jobs, knowing we can sleep peacefully as harbingers of a safer, healthier, and more prosperous future for all!"


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