Help is needed to stop the Los Cerritos Wetlands from being drilled and killed!
On Thursday, December 13th, when the California Coastal Commission meets in Newport Beach, the Los Cerritos Wetlands Restoration and Oil Consolidation Project will be reviewed, and could be approved. This massive expansion of oil operations over, around, and under the Los Cerritos Wetlands and the Newport Inglewood Fault will damage/destroy natural and tribal cultural resources and place the health and welfare of the community at risk from increased air and water pollution, oil spills, and seismic activity. The impact of extracting and refining the projected 200 million barrels of oil and the creation of a mitigation bank selling credits to polluters has not been addressed in relation to global warming, sea level rise, or increased pollution from local refineries, has not been addressed by the project proponents Beach Oil Minerals Partners and the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority, by the City of Long Beach, or by the Coastal Commission staff. Insead, a false narrative claims that oil production will be modern and safe, that adequate measures have be taken to prevent oil spills, that tribal cultural resources are not at risk, and that the planned wetlands restoration will improve the habitat and health of the wetlands.
Although most of the Los Cerritos Wetlands are not within the project area, and most of the project area will remain contaminated, BOMP has sold themselves as benefactors who offer the last, best, chance to “save” the Los Cerritos Wetlands. Their existing wells on the wetlands are drying up and cannot be salvaged. The proposed new sites, not currently defined as wetlands, are able to use the modern “enhanced” drilling methods that have revived the oil industry and created earthquakes, oil spills, water and air pollution from LA to Standing Rock and beyond. In exchange for these sites, BOMP will give150+ acres of wetlands to the public. Poorly producing wells in the project area will eventually be shut down, some unused pipelines and storage tanks, some contaminated soils, and some invasive plants will be removed. Steamshovel Slough, the only ancient salt marsh in Southern California will be expanded onto currently contaminated areas with the assurance that this fragile ecosystem will be protected. A visitors center, once slated to be built on one of the new oil drilling sites, will now be housed in the “historic” Bixby Ranch Office, currently contaminated by toxic residue from asbestos and pesticides. This visitors center, new public parking and roadways, and new pipelines crossing the faultline will destroy wetlands habitat, and the additional industrial and human activity will reduce wildlife populations.
The Los Cerritos Wetlands may be damaged but they remain a place of prayer and ceremony for the Tongva and Acjachemen who understand the need to preserve this link to their ancestors and to their history and who continue to protect this sacred site for the benefit of those plant and animal relatives that make their homes here. Along with with environmental organizations and community members these tribal leaders and members oppose the extraction of fossil fuels and water from the Los Cerritos Wetlands and surrounding areas. Sierra Club members are asked to help defeat the Los Cerritos Wetlands Restoration and Oil Consolidation Project by writing/emailing your objections to the California Coastal Commission by December 8th and/or by attending the Coastal Commission meeting on December 13th.
For more information contact Anna Christensen Sierra Club Conservation Committee representative from the Long Beach group, Angeles Chapter.