Although I enthusiastically support the concessions made by Plains, Exploration and Production Company (PXP) in the oil field settlement, I can’t help but wonder what took so long. Considering that I believe PXP was willing to make the same concessions more than two years ago, before lawsuits were filed.
The filing of lawsuits ended hopes of open and confidential dialogue that could have resolved a lot of the issues. As a consequence, the parties had to lawyer up and let the lawyers make tons of money. Culver City alone has spent more than a million dollars on lawyers and consultants suing PXP. Think how much that money could have been used to help the city if it weren’t spent on the lawyers. The city council had to work through the city attorney, who had an openly hostile and biased attitude toward PXP.
I was defamed and attacked viciously and unmercifully in some papers and blogs by faked named individuals for calling for dialogue and not lawsuits in the oil field dispute. It did not matter that my intent was to raise oil royalties to help fund our schools.
Now that there appears to be a settlement, I think the city should raise the royalty rate it gets from PXP from an estimated 1.2% to at least 6%.
In addition, I would like to advocate that there be a statewide progressive windfall profits tax against all the oil companies, with the added revenues being allocated to our schools. The Culver City Council and Culver City School Board can pass a resolution to endorse a progressive windfall-profits tax on oil companies, with the money going to our schools. The windfall-profits tax would capture a share of the profits over the cost of producing a barrel of oil.
I do share the same long-term view of many Culver City residents that when the oil fields peter out, the land be converted to a park and, thus, end the oil question once and for all.
[Editor’s note: Plains, Exploration and Production representatives have told the News that the company is not permitted to donate funds directly to schools, but contributes to the Culver City Education Foundation.]