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Protesters head to Culver City meeting to decry fracking

June 12, 2012 | 10:43 pm

Protesters against fracking gather outside the Culver City council chambers

Dozens of residents and environmentalists demonstrated outside Culver City council chambers Tuesday night, calling on state lawmakers to ban fracking, a controversial technique used to collect natural gas and oil. Inside, a presentation on the practice was being given to the council and public.

Waving signs to motorists and chanting "Ban fracking now!" demonstrators said the practice is harmful, even if it were to be regulated in the state.

"There's no such thing as safe fracking," said Claudia Bestor, a Baldwin Hills resident. "It's damaging to the air and water."

One sarcastic protester wore a serial killer mask and held a heart-shaped sign that read "I Love Fracking."

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, involves drilling a hole in the ground, then blasting millions of gallons of water infused with sand and chemicals to shatter rock formations deep underground to release natural gas and oil. Disapproval of the method has been on the rise in recent years because of its impact on the environment in and around some fracking sites.

Proponents, such as the California Independent Petroleum Assn., point out that hydraulic fracturing has been used throughout the state since the 1950s. It also says every well, regardless of drilling method used, is highly regulated by the state.

Tuesday’s demonstration was organized by Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community in conjunction with Food and Water Watch, a nonprofit organization. The protest occurred on the same night as a hydraulic fracturing workshop put together by the California Department of Conservation.

It also comes several weeks ahead of a study scheduled to be released July 15 by Plains Exploration & Production Co. The company operates the Inglewood Oil Field, which is surrounded by Culver City, Baldwin Hills and other neighborhoods.

Nearly 100,000 people live by the site, making it the largest urban oil field in the country and setting the stage for an unprecedented battle over fracking in California.

RELATED:

Fracking bill moves forward in California Legislature

State officials ask energy firms to disclose 'fracking' sites

California fracking bill would protect industry ‘trade secrets’

-- Ruben Vives

Twitter.com/latvives

Photo: Demonstrators protest fracking outside Culver City council chambers Tuesday night. Credit: Ruben Vives / Los Angeles Times

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