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Regulators Snoozed While Oil Company Expanded Drilling Operations in the Heart of Urban Los Angeles

Damon Nagami

Posted March 15, 2010

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State and local regulators were asleep at the wheel when Plains Exploration and Production Company (PXP) embarked on a huge expansion of oil drilling operations in the Baldwin Hills community south of Los Angeles, the Associated Press reported yesterday.  According to the AP article, PXP’s push for increased oil drilling in 2005 was “helped along by county and state regulators who determined that the additional wells didn't require any environmental review.” This report comes on the heels of last month’s troubling revelation that a former Los Angeles County supervisor may have pressured County staff to increase the number of oil wells PXP would be allowed to drill over the next twenty years.

I’ve blogged before about this alarming situation and the dangers that local residents face every day.  Oil drilling involves the release of toxic chemicals that can cause chronic health problems and even cancer.  There already are hundreds of active oil wells in the Baldwin Hills, in the middle of one of the most densely populated parts of L.A., and hundreds more are on their way.  And now we know that the regulators with oversight of the oil field were not doing their job.  It’s clear that the community needs greater protections.  That’s why NRDC and others sued the County in 2008 for more effective health and safety regulations on the oil field.  We will continue to fight in court, and we welcome articles and reports like these to keep the issues in the spotlight as we work toward a resolution that will protect the community’s health and well-being.

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Paul FerrazziMar 16 2010 02:29 AM

Could you detail the NRDC's position on Fracturing?, as it has been and potentially will be used in the Inglewood Oil Field expansion?
It was used in 2005 by PXP and more recently in wells drilled in the Sentous region of the Inglewood Oil Field operated by Plains Exploration & Production, Inc. This is the region that has been described by PXP as being the Deep Well Drilling project, deep wells being close to 10,000 feet in depth and very close to the Newport-Inglewood fault, a fault capable of generating an earthquake of 7.4 and identified as the most likely fault in California due for failure by FEMA. One only has to reference the Rangley, Colorado study which concluded the type of enhanced recovery technique of using water injection which is used by PXP in the Inglewood Field induces increased seismicity, couple that with the use of fracking which is required in the Sentous region according to PXP's own documents, very close to the Newport-Inglewood fault and the risk of creating a catastrophic disaster is unfathomable.

Bill EngerMar 16 2010 07:50 PM

I built the state of the art oil and gas drill site in the City of Beverly Hills. I did this back in the 70's and 80's. I drilled and produced 17 oil and gas wells while I was still there in charge. I was then "kicked out" by the banks who are controlled by the Seven Sisters. The sisters was created by John D. Rockefeller way back in the early part of the 20th centurn. Congress declaired he owned a monopoly. He was "ordered" to give away 80% of all his holdings. Now he was not a dummy. Congress is made up of snot nosed people who get a kick out of power. But they are not businessmen and they are no match for a man like Rockefeller. He wasn't about to give away anything. So he created four companies, Texaco; Exxon; Union; and Mobil Oil. Then he added Shell oil and British petroleum to his organization. The Seven Sisters. Oil is Power. It runs our ships, our aircraft, our tanks, our personnel carriers, everything with a combustible engine. Oil is power and Oil wins wars. At least it used to. Now we are fighting religeon. But oil is still the most powerful thing we have on this planet. And only one family owns and controls it all. The Rockefeller Family. John D. hid his holdings by establishing hundreds of corporations and foundations, then had them buy up the stock of these new four companies. There are not enough accountants in this world to follow the trail. But it is there. Not even the Rockefeller family knows how much worth and power they have. But they own the Banks, Chemical Companies, Pharmacutical companies, manufacturing and anything that has great value.
This sounds like scicnce fiction but it is the truth. Just Follow the Money as they said in that story about the Fall of Nixon.
I can tell you anything and everything about drilling and production of oil and gas in the Los Angeles Basin. I cannot comment on any other place in the world because I am not an expert on those geologic formations. But I do know the LA basin. And I know it very well. I used to be a Billionair. Now I am living in poverty. That is what they do when they discard you when you are no longer needed. Chevron had tried for over 35 years to drill up their oil reserves in the western area of Beverly Hills. But they failed that entire time. Then little Bill Enger comes along, and he does it in ten years. They let me operate for a few years before calling my bank and telling them to call in my loans. I couldn't do that so I was forclosed on. Chevron will never use their own name on this project. There will be company names that you and I have never heard of. But I can guarantee you that if it were possible it would all be tracked right back to Chevron and the Seven Sisters.

Damon NagamiMar 17 2010 05:37 PM

Paul - Thanks for your question. NRDC supports legislation currently pending in Congress that would repeal a current loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act and require federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing. This legislation is known as the FRAC Act, which stands for the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (H.R. 2766/S. 1215). If you'd like to write to your representative in Congress to ask him or her to co-sponsor the bill, you can do so at the following link:

We also believe any type of oil drilling should be held to the highest possible environmental standards. To minimize the risks from hydraulic fracturing, we need to ensure appropriate well locations, as well as strong well construction standards and the safest fluids possible. Because state regulations vary widely, we think federal regulation and EPA oversight is essential to ensure a minimal federal floor of protection.

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