An oil and gas company is pulling back a controversial application to drill and redrill wells at a South Los Angeles site close to homes, but local activists say they aren’t giving up the fight against alleged violations at the Jefferson Boulevard facility, it was reported Friday.
The Freeport-McMoRan petroleum company had sought permission to drill a new well and redrill two existing ones at the site, describing the work as “minimal in scope and duration,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Community activists fought against the plan, arguing that drilling there had caused acrid fumes, overpowering noise and other nuisances and dangers.
A November hearing at City Hall ended without a decision on the drilling plan. At that hearing, an aide to Councilman Bernard C. Parks, whose district includes the drilling site, said the councilman wanted to bring the two sides together to discuss operating rules.
But the councilman’s office recently told community members that an upcoming meeting was canceled because the drilling plan was being abandoned, The Times reported. Freeport-McMoRan now says it plans to withdraw its application by the end of the month.
“The decision to withdraw the application was prompted primarily in response to the steep decline in commodity prices,” company spokesman Eric Kinneberg said in an email to The Times.
Community activists concerned about the drilling believe that the outcry also played a role and argue the city should still hold the company accountable for “repeated and serious violations.”
The fact Freeport-McMoRan withdrew its application “should not delay their day of reckoning with residents,” Richard Parks, board president of the nonprofit Redeemer Community Partnership, told The Times in an email.
—City News Service