Crude Prices Force Whittier To Rethink Opposition To Oil Drilling

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Residents in Whittier are bitterly divided over the city’s plans to drill for oil on land that had initially been purchased as a nature preserve to drive away potential drillers.

Over ten years after the city purchased 1,200 acres to create the Whittier Wilderness Preserve, Conservation Authority director Bob Henderson told KNX 1070 the city’s recent revenue shortfalls has forced him to reconsider the proposal.

“When oil started going up to the $80 range situation, I literally suddenly remembered it one night, and said ‘My gosh, we better investigate this’,” said Henderson.

But the future of what Henderson called “a very valuable asset” is far from certain: residents are voicing concerns that the quality of life could be adversely affected if drilling plans go forward.

“We’re concerned about the noise, the pollution, the actual amount of land that’s going to be lost,” said Roy McKee, vice president of Whittier Hills Oil Watch.

“There’s more land involved here than just the seven acres,” he added.

While Los Angeles County stills needs to approve the drilling plans, residents are warning that neighbors in surrounding communities may soon need to organize their own local watch groups.

  • Tim F.

    They do not need jobs in Whittier? People need jobs today. The City needs money today. Using existing and available resources instead of increasing taxes is preferable. The oil will eventually be depleted and the land restored like most of the oil fields in the Los Angeles area. This is not rocket science. Jobs now and revenue now.

    • Jesse

      I think Bob Henderson and other city officials are acting out of greed. Greed always leads to even a worse situation. Other cities are also facing financial hardships and they are able to manage. Eventually the oil will be depleted, Matrix Oil will have destroyed our wildlife and open space in Whittier. Who says any of that money will create jobs? I hate to mention our neighboring city which has had oil wells for years, and they are facing a tremendous financial situation. The City of Baldwin Hills has virtually no open space left. Let us not fall into the trap that Matrix Oil has set. Since the City purchased the land with bond money it should compy with preserving open space and not allow oil exploration.

    • jesse

      Its going to take more than rocket science to figure out how to clean up the toxic waste left behind. Several Beverly Hills High School graduates are now suffering from some types of cancers including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and thyroid cancer. Correct, we should be using available resourses by spending less, no need to increase taxes. Our country would not be in such a financial mess, if we would just live within our means.

  • Concern Whittier Resident

    As a Whittier resident, all I see is greed. I wonder who is getting the paycheck for this one. We need to consider the environmental damage, noise, fumes, and declining property value. The city cannot guarantee this will not happen. Haven’t we learn our lesson with BP.

  • jgmccand

    My friends at OPEC and I support the WHOW opposition to drilling in the Whittier hills
    We have lots of oil over here in the Middle-East. Just keep buying your oil from us..

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