Let’s briefly review what we accomplish and where things stand. In 2012, OSLDF settled its lawsuit with Matrix Oil, the City of Whittier, and Clayton Williams Energy. As part of the Settlement, a Conservation Easement Deed was to be placed over 1,260 acres of the Whittier-Puente Hills nature preserve. This was to protect the land that was not part of the lease agreement that the City had negotiated with Matrix. Also part of this conversation is an additional area of 20 acres where the oil drilling would take place.
According to a Whittier Daily News article from July 30, 2018, “Under the old lease, Matrix could drill up to 60 wells, build storage tanks, add processing equipment, pipelines for oil and natural gas through the city and storage tanks with an oil truck loading facility on a 20-acre portion of the nature preserve adjacent to the Friendly Hills neighborhood, of which seven acres would be reserved for oil wells.”
Upon completion of the oil drilling project, the City is obligated to place the conservation easement over these 20 acres as well, ensuring that the combined 1,280 acres would be protected from any future oil drilling projects.
Six long years have passed since the 2012 Settlement, and the City is dragging its feet and refusing to meet its legal obligation to protect the afore-mentioned 1,260 acres.
OSLDF has repeatedly requested that the conservation easement be placed over this land in perpetuity, as was agreed upon in the Settlement. Despite numerous requests following an August 2015 decision by the City to not appeal the injunction on the oil project, the City has not upheld their part of the Settlement Agreement.
As such, OSLDF has obtained an attorney to represent us. Our goal is to ensure that the terms of the Settlement are properly enforced and that the Whittier Hills are safeguarded from oil drilling in the future.