WHERE THE WORKSHOP ON HYDRAULIC FRACTURING, or “fracking,” drew a record (and raucous) crowd in Culver City Tuesday night, the scene Wednesday night in Long Beach was more subdued. There was a steady stream of speakers ready to voice their concerns about the practice, but there were fewer of them and they were more reserved in their presentations.
This may, in part, be because of the limited outreach conducted prior to the workshop.
Why did she have to learn about the meeting through the news media, a frustrated woman wanted to know. Why hadn’t the regulatory agency, the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), been more active in reaching out to residents?
Similarly, Milton, a community organizer from Communities for a Better Environment, asked why DOGGR had not conducted outreach in immigrant communities or provided their materials in languages other than English. Immigrants frequently reside in areas where drilling and other environmentally hazardous activities take place.
Both of them had a point. In addition to attendance being somewhat sparse, the demographic skewed much older, white, and well-to-do despite the socio-economic diversity of Long Beach and the proximity of the oilfields to the meeting site.
Their questions were met with silence.
In fact, very few questions were answered that evening, much to everyone’s dismay. Read more…