Activists cross Jefferson Boulevard in Playa Vista
2. A participant’s “broken heart” sign highlights safety concerns about fossil fuel storage; 3. State Sen. Holly Mitchell supports ending natural gas operations in Playa del Rey; 4. A Sierra Club supporter takes aim at fossil fuel infrastructure; 5. Venice activist Mike Bravo speaks about Native American heritage in the Ballona Wetlands; 6. Bruce Campbell objects to wetlands restoration plans that would preserve adjacent gas operations

Photos by Luis Chavez

Local activists campaigning to shut down the natural gas storage facility in Playa del Rey took to the corner of Lincoln and Jefferson boulevards last Thursday for a Valentine’s-themed protest aimed at winning the heart of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Decked out in shades of pink and red, more than two dozen demonstrators waved broken-heart signs to motorists and distributed “valentine hearts” to passersby.

Marina del Rey resident Anne Kirkpatrick, a member of the advocacy group Protect Playa Now, said she and others would love to see Garcetti revoke the SoCalGas facility’s conditional use permit, which allows a business to operate within city limits. Last October the Los Angeles City Council voted to reexamine the gas storage facility’s permit, issued in 1995.

“It could be another Aliso Canyon waiting to happen,” Kirkpatrick said, echoing safety concerns frequently voiced by activists but disputed by SoCalGas, which contents the facility is critical to the region’s energy stability. “I hope this is a reminder that a year ago [Garcetti] talked about moving toward 100% renewable energy in his own Green New Deal, but we haven’t seen any action yet.”

Democratic state Sen. Holly Mitchell, who is campaigning to replace termed-out Mark Ridley-Thomas on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, also attended the demonstration.

Last month county supervisors called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to shut down Aliso Canyon, with L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, whose district includes Playa del Rey, amended a resolution asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to close down Aliso Canyon by adding an additional request to study the feasibility of ending natural gas operations in Playa del Rey.

— Gary Walker

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