Carson Temporarily Halts Oil Drilling

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The city of Carson took the unprecedented step of enacting a temporary ban on oil drilling. City officials were influenced by a steady stream of environmental problems in Southern California. Hetty Chang reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, 2014. (Published Thursday, Mar 20, 2014)

    In what may be a first for the state of California, the city of Carson has banned oil drilling, at least temporarily.

    A newly enacted drilling ban, which will last 45 days, puts a halt on a controversial oil drilling project that would put 200 oil wells near homes and the Cal State Dominguez Hills campus, and future others.

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    The move by City Council members Tuesday came on the heels of demands by residents who said they are fed up with environmental problems.

    They fear the proposed Occidental Petroleum project at Dominguez Oil Field would create environmental hazards. While the company has repeatedly promised not to use "fracking" -- a controversial blasting technique which helps free up trapped oil -- residents still aren't convinced.

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    "That may be the case," said Glenn White of Carson. "But they're using alternative methods of fracking which they haven't promised to use."

    "They're talking about 200 wells over the next 10 years. I don't want to go back to that life," said longtime resident Dianne Thomas of what she saw when she first moved to Carson more than 40 years ago. "I don't want that contamination in our air."

    Carson's ban on all new oil drilling, not just certain methods, is a first in California, according to Western States Petroleum Association, which in a statement to NBC 4 called the decision "alarming."

    The associated warned that the city would be deprived of significant revenue.

    Occidental Petroleum estimates the project would create hundreds of jobs.

    The city said it would re-visit the issue in 45 days.

    "This is a city, which is 54 percent industrially zoned, but has nearly 100,000 residents at the same time," said Jim Dear, mayor of Carson. "We have to live together in harmony."

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