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7/28/2015: Oil-Wesson Meets the Community Half Way…

The community asked LA City Council President Wesson to support its efforts to:

  1. Stop the installation of a 26 foot tall gas burning flare at the Murphy Oil site that would waste gas, increase green house gases rather than put energy back into the grid,
  2. Require an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for operations at the site,
  3. Return integrity to the City Planning Department. 

President Wesson announced in the attached letter that he would meet the community half way and ask the Zoning Administrator NOT to approve the application by Freeport McMoRan Oil & Gas (FMOG) to place a gas burning flare in the parkland at 27th and St. Andrews, approximately 60 feet from the St. Andrews Apartments!

What did the community request?

Based on community comments at the ZA hearing held on May 12, 2015, countless community meetings held in varied venues, and dozens of letters sent to Council President Wesson and the  Zoning Administrator, we can safely say that the community opposes Freeport McMoRan’s (FMOG):

  • Expansion of operations into the parkland and installation of a CEB800 gas burning flare, and
  • Overall project because the integrity of the review process has been undermined by project descriptions that have shifted repeatedly – and strategically - to misdirect the community and mislead the City into an evasion of requirements for environmental review under CEQA.

1) No expansion into the parkland and no expansion of the work compound

The community has long and clearly opposed expansion into the parkland. All oil and gas production activities should only occur within the existing perimeter walls, as this has been the historically-approved surface operation since 1961 and that should not change. In addition, 27th Street in Jefferson Park should not be used by FMOG or any future drill site operator. No production or other commercial vehicles related to the oil & gas production use should be allowed to travel on this residential street nor enter the facility.

2) Opposition to the CEB 800

Opposition to the CEB 800 gas burning flare (regardless of location) was prompted by the latest of Freeport-McMoran’s many changing stories about the need for and purpose of this piece of equipment. In its July 2014 application, FMOG said the CEB 800 was needed to burn “incremental” new amounts of “off-spec” gas from future wells. In October 2014, FMOG changed its story to evade environmental review under CEQA by claiming that CEB 800’s purpose is merely “redundancy.” But then in its presentation on May 12, 2015 FMOG also indicated that the imminent end of a historical exemption from “Rule 30” would hamper their ability to actually sell gas to The Gas Company, creating a new “urgency” to have the CEB800 to burn gas it will no longer be able to sell. This new information prompted community members to research the change to “Rule 30” (which was publicly proposed in 2011) and to re-examine the December 2012 AQMD permit application for the CEB 800 and the manufacturer’s specifications of the CEB 800 as compared to the existing five microturbines (at the hearing FMOG insisted it did not have space for microturbines to do the job).

The bottom line is that the gas burning capacity of the CEB800 is 43 times as great as the capacity of a standard 70KW microturbine. One CEB 800 can burn almost 1,000,000 cubic feet of gas per day, which is the amount produced daily at the Murphy and Jefferson sites combined. Furthermore, in 2013 FMOG’s predecessor PXP gave Planning a site plan with a sketched pad for a potential second CEB800 that PXP said they might want in the future.

All of this indicates that FMOG’s plan is to install CEB 800 flaring equipment capable of burning all of the gas produced at Murphy and Jefferson – 1,000,000 cubic feet of gas per day now, and almost double that in the future when new wells are added and the planned second CEB 800 might be installed. Both the United Nations and the World Bank have launched a global campaign to end the routine flaring of gas. Mayor Garcetti and Governor Brown both have sustainability plans that call for energy efficiency, ending waste, ending the use of coal and striving to clean the air of these carbon based pollutants.  If installed, this burner would go in the wrong direction and create lasting effects for generations.

3) Violation of the integrity of the review process

No project can be adequately reviewed if the project is repeatedly misrepresented. That is the case here. FMOG has repeatedly changed its story about the purpose of the project, and in the worst case it did so expressly to evade environmental review under CEQA. On this basis alone the project should be rejected by the City. As a result, we ask specifically that our elected representatives oppose the project; that the City Zoning Administrator DENY the application as it was presented; and that the Zoning Administrator require a full environmental review for any new application that is submitted.

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