Residents who live next to a South Los Angeles drilling site took to City Hall today to protest what they called an attempt by Freeport-McMoRan to expand its oil operations.
Freeport-McMoRan, which is also one of the world’s biggest producers of copper and gold, is asking the city for permission to put in a new gas burner at its 2.8-acre Murphy Drill Site at 2126 W. Adams Blvd.
The company’s representatives said the equipment is needed to meet new regulatory requirements, but residents say the project could increase truck trips and drilling operations in the area.
The residents filled a City Hall meeting chamber where they urged a zoning officer to deny the company’s application, saying the new equipment would improperly expand the company’s oil operations into a park area.
“I’m very much concerned about safety issues with regard to the proposed burner, but more importantly, I’m very concerned about precedent in creating work space outside the existing area” where the oil company had been operating, said Renee Gunter, who lives near the 50-year-old drill site and said she designed the landscaping in the adjacent park.
“I’m concerned about traffic and trucks in a residential neighborhood — it is a historic neighborhood,” Gunter said.
Freeport McMoRan’s attorney Amy Forbes said the gas burner the company is proposing “is not related to drilling activities on the site.”
“This is a clean and enclosed burner that is designed to handle methane gas produced by the facility and it allows us to have a redundant operation to what we currently use to dispose of the gas that’s generated by the operations,” Forbes said.
Forbes said the landscaped area next to the walled-off portion of the drill site is not a park and is zoned for oil drilling operations.
Forbes also said the park-like area is owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and is not accessible to the public.
The public has another 30 days to give input on the application, after which the zoning officer who heard comments today is expected to make a determination on whether to grant the company the authority to install the burner.
— City News Service
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