Fracking seminar at West Los Angeles College on March 23

West Los Angeles College will host a seminar on hydraulic fracturing and the democratic process entitled “Fracking: The L.A.  Story” on Saturday, March 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Fine Arts Auditorium.

Co-hosting the event with the college are Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community, Baldwin Hills Oil Watch, Make Culver City Safe, and Transition Culver City.

Hydraulic fracturing is the highly controversial practice commonly known as “fracking.” This procedure of extracting hard-to-get oil uses highly pressurized water, sand and chemicals.

Critics are concerned about possible toxic air emissions, pollution of groundwater and earthquakes in a densely populated urban area.

Activists from Culver City and Los Angeles, including academics and physicians, have advocated for a moratorium or ban on fracking, in particular because the oil company Plains Exploration and Production has announced it will employ fracking in the Baldwin Hills Oil Field, located adjacent to West LA College in Culver City and Baldwin Hills.

Speakers will include James Dahlgren, M.D., C. Tom Williams, Ph.D and Paul Ferrazzi, executive director of Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community.

Culver City Councilwoman Meghan Sahli-Wells will speak about local government’s role in providing public health and safety.

“It’s encouraging to see Culver City residents so actively involved in learning and sharing information about hydraulic fracturing,” Sahli-Wells wrote in an e-mail. “There is a great amount of concern over the practice both locally and worldwide, but surprisingly few people know that it’s going on in such a densely populated urban area as Los Angeles County.”

Gary Silbiger, a former mayor of Culver City, will discuss a proposal for a community ballot initiative intended to restrict Culver City or any municipality from allowing fracking and explain the method to change a city charter so that citizens can obtain protections.

 “In a participatory democracy, placing items on a ballot for a vote serves two fundamental goals – the ability to educate, engage, and organize our community; and to vote for a proposal that will resolve major issues that the elected officials either refuse to, or cannot, accomplish,” Silbiger said.

“Passing a strong anti-fracking ballot initiative will protect our neighborhoods from severe health and safety concerns while at the same time demonstrate to other communities that a unified voice has power beyond our dreams.”

The event is free and open to the public. West Los Angeles College is located at 9000 Overland Ave, Culver City. Registration for the seminar at will take place from 9:30 to 10 a.m. Coffee will be served.

For more information, contact and visit, and

A campus map can be accessed at Free parking will be available in the South Parking Structure only, off of Albert Vera Street.