L.A. Should Stop Water Pollution at its Source

Re: “A Better Solution for Ballona Creek’s Epic Trash Flow Problem,” Cover Story, Jan. 31

The article about the Mr. Trash Wheel mechanized floating debris collector begs the question: Why does all that trash get into Ballona Creek to begin with?

The problem is that upstream from the mouth of the creek, there are hardly any preventive actions being taken to eliminate the waste at its source. Every major city in America, except Los Angeles, has trash and recycle bins on nearly every corner to collect the discards of its citizens.

Los Angeles is unique in its environmental callousness in this and many other matters. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin only seem to care about the next photo op and not about the consequences of the city’s environmental negligence. L.A. County has receptacles at our beaches and parks, but L.A. City is tone deaf.

Preventive actions cost less than cleaning up after the fact. Why do our politicians not care?

Sam Davis


Oil Well Blowout Prompts Concerns About Gas Storage

Re: “Gas Leak Rattles Marina del Rey,” News, Jan. 24

The Jan. 11 blowout of well DOW R.G.C. #10 on Via Marina in Marina del Rey is a dramatic reminder of the volatile infrastructure underlying parts of Venice, Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Ballona Wetlands, and Westchester above the Ballona Bluffs.

Sierra Club thanks L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin for raising concerns after neighbors were not notified about the DOW R.G.C. #10 blowout, and about other old and abandoned wells in the area. Sierra Club supports his call to “halt to any further injection of gas into the Playa del Rey storage field until we can be sure it is safe.”

Sierra Club is concerned because the oil and gas infrastructure dating from oil production’s heyday is hazardous to
the 700,000 residents living in the area and endangers the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. Today, the 54 SoCalGas wells being used in the PdR natural gas storage operations threaten our human and natural environment.

The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) 2018 study, “The Long-Term Viability of Underground Natural Gas Storage in California,” states: “The Playa del Rey facility, which has a long history of loss-of-containment incidents and is located near a large population center in a very high wildfire hazard zone, stands out as a facility with relatively higher risk to health and safety … with risk-related characteristics of relatively greater concern.

The Ballona Wetlands, Ballona watershed, and the communities threatened by the SoCalGas natural gas storage operations have been a priority of the Angeles Chapter of Sierra Club for over 25 years. Escaping gases migrating to the surface in local neighborhoods create serious concerns.

The Jan. 11 blowout is another wake-up call.

Sierra Club agrees with CCST’s recommendation that “the state should commission a cost-benefit analysis including full consideration of risks associated with loss-of-containment from this facility.”

Therefore, Sierra Club respectfully calls upon state Sen. Ben Allen, the California Senate, Assemblymember Autumn Burke, and the California Assembly to commission an analysis of ending the gas storage operations at the PDR site, including full consideration of the risks associated with loss-of-containment incidents that have plagued SoCalGas Company’s PdR gas storage operations (such as oilfield fires, explosions, and outgassing), and of the threats to the health and safety of 700,000 residents of the densely populated area who live above and in close proximity to PdR gas storage operations.

The health of our environment shapes the health of our communities.

Gretchen Nordham

Playa del Rey

Chair, Sierra Club Airport Marina Group