City Council Take Steps to Phase Out Oil Drilling in Culver City
August 20, 2020
Culver City Council has unanimously voted to draft a plan to phase out oil extraction and gas wells in the city's 78-acre portion of the Inglewood Oil Field.
At a special meeting last Thursday, the council directed staff to develop a framework and timeline for the phase out of active wells, following a presentation on the Amortization Study commissioned by the Oil Subcommittee. And councilmembers also discussed the possibility of litigation with Sentinel Peak Resource, owner of the oil field since 2017.
The study, conducted by Baker & O'Brien Incorporated, focused on options for an amortization program and ways to remediate wells and transform the site for beneficial reuse to the community. The study also revealed that the city's portion of the oil field is valued at $4.64 million.
During the meeting, various stakeholders addressed the Council on the topic. Most of them were in favor of the amortization. They included representatives from labor unions, the California Nurses Association, environmental organizations from Sierra Club, NRDC and Center for Biological Diversity in addition to many local residents and medical professionals.
"Every day nurses across California treat children with asthma and we see firsthand the connection between environmental and public health," said Tveen Kirkpatrick, R.N. with California Nurses Association. "We are proud to stand with the communities closest to toxic operations in Culver City and call for a shutdown of the Inglewood Oil Field."
However, Colin Diaz, president of the Chamber of Commerce, urged city officials to put off the amortization plan, saying the city is the midst of financial crisis that "will not abate anytime soon."
Jennifer Rivera, a representative of the California Independent Petroleum Association, also spoke against amortization, claiming the oil field brings in over $250,000 in tax revenue for Culver City. But the Councilmembers replied that the oil field does not produce taxable revenues close to that total.
Following the public hearing, the Council directed staff to study other factors related to amortization and to develop a timeline and framework to phase out oil and gas activity in Culver City.
"We're heartened that the city council took this important step to protect Culver City's communities and our climate from oil industry pollution," said Maya Golden-Krasner, an attorney with Center for Biological Diversity. "Now more than ever, the transition to a clean energy future promises the jobs and the just investment we need to create a healthy, vibrant, prosperous community for decades to come."