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Citing health problems, noise and pollution, residents living near a South Los Angeles oil drilling site will hold a demonstration Saturday morning to protest what they say is city failure to help them in the same way that “whiter, wealthier” westside neighborhoods have been protected.
Residents are critical of what they say is inaction by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning in failing to issue a decision on a nuisance abatement petition filed more than a year ago.
The protest and march begins at 9:30 a.m. at South Budlong Avenue, between Jefferson Boulevard and West 30th Street, and will conclude at the Jefferson drill site at 1371 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Residents living near that Jefferson drill site filed the petition for abatement of public nuisance in June 2016, claiming the operator of the site, Sentinel Peak Energy, is violating its land use permits. The company, which bought the site in October from Freeport McMoRan, did not respond to a request for comment.
Residents who live near the site lined up in January at a city Office of Zoning Administration hearing about the petition to complain about health problems, excessive noise and pollution they say the facility is responsible for.
The petition is asking the city to require that oil extraction at the site be completely enclosed, mandate the use of quieter and less polluting electric rigs instead of diesel ones, and provide publicly accessible air quality monitoring to track pollution at the site.
The petition also says these protections were granted decades ago to “whiter, wealthier” neighborhoods on the Westside.
A letter from Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson was also read at the meeting.
“The residents of Council District 8 deserve a responsive government and a safe and healthy community,” wrote Harris-Dawson. “I share the frustration of my constituents in enduring these nuisances and threats to their safety and quality of life. I support local community residents in their request for the same protections afforded to constituents in drill sites located in other parts of the city.”
In January, a spokeswoman for Harris-Dawson said a report on the petition was expected to be issued within 75 days from a zoning administrator. However, organizers of the protest said in a statement that the city has “missed its deadline by three months and has failed to respond to community concerns. The protest will center around Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote, `Justice too long delayed is justice denied.’ ”
—City News Service
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