July 20, 2015                                                               
Jackie Pomeroy
(323) 892-2080
More than 100 Children March Against Neighborhood Oil Drilling in South LA
Local Youth Take a Stand Against Industrial Oil Extraction Operations that are Not Compatible with Nearby Homes and School
SOUTH LOS ANGELES—Today, youth from two summer programs in South Los Angeles took to the streets dressed as bright yellow birds to demonstrate that they, their families, and their neighbors should not be treated like canaries in a coal mine because of the two oil drilling operations less than 35 feet away from homes in the community.
The two drill sites, Jefferson and Murphy, are operated by Freeport McMoRan Oil and Gas (FMOG), whose regular operations include parking tanker trucks full of toxic acid next to homes and plaguing residents with noxious fumes, loud noises, heavy truck traffic, and the persistent risk of catastrophic accidents. An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has never been conducted at these sites, and as FMOG tries to expand capacity by adding new equipment to the Murphy drill site, the children are calling on L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson to stand with them in opposing it.
The Murphy and Jefferson drill sites are within a mile of one another and connected by a network of underground pipes. By installing additional equipment to burn off the explosive gas generated by oil drilling, FMOG will be able to increase the amount of drilling at both sites, endangering the health and safety of the surrounding community, which includes three elementary schools within four blocks.
“We know oil drilling has negative impacts on community health,” said Richard Parks, President of Redeemer Community Partnership. “The last thing we should be doing is allowing Freeport to expand capacity at these drill sites. We need our city leadership to listen to the community and protect our kids from neighborhood drilling.”
The students, who attend the summer programs Adventures Ahead, run by Redeemer Community Partnership (RCP), and the Freedom School, run by Holman United Methodist Church (UMC), have spent their summer learning about social movements, the important role children have played in advancing these causes, and the value of advocating for your community.
“We are teaching our kids that their voices matter and that they can make a difference in their community,” said Pastor Kelvin Sauls, Head Pastor of Holman United Methodist Church. “Neighborhood drilling is unequivocally an issue of environmental justice. This drill site is just steps from our church and our members live right across the street. Our children deserve to grow up in a community where they aren’t poisoned by toxic emissions.”
Children chanting “hey hey ho ho, oil drilling has to go!” walked from the Adventures Ahead center to the nearby Jefferson drill site, where they sang songs inside an eight foot tall birdcage and took photos in front of the gates with signs displaying how close they live to the site. The children then met at Holman UMC to march to the Murphy drill site carrying signs and singing songs. On the lawn in front of the gate, situated in between convalescent homes, schools and residential housing, the children cheered, “EIR! EIR! EIR!”
Both RCP and Holman UMC are part of the Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling Los Angeles (STAND-LA) coalition, which is dedicated to safeguarding the well-being, health and safety of Angelenos living and working in close proximity to oil drilling sites.
More photos are available upon request. 
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