Untrustworthy plant plan


I was deeply disturbed to read in the letters to editor last week that the proposed LNG plant meeting proposal that no City Council members attended. Planned, sustainable growth of the City of Malibu is vital to Malibu citizens. Serious environmental hazards, which potentially endanger everyone in Malibu, should be of the utmost importance to our City Council. Given the proximity of active earthquake faults, busy shipping lanes, you would think common sense would prevail in granting a license to such a hazardous, natural-gas plant. And yes, terrorism is a real and obvious risk. I moved to Malibu to get away from manufacturing plants, industrial centers, traffic and smog. I absolutely don’t want to risk living near such a fallible natural gas storage and re-gasification plant. Most Malibuites I know love and enjoy the natural surroundings and ocean. I don’t know anyone who wants to swim or surf downstream from a gas storage facility that will inevitably leak gas.

I am sure BHP Billiton Inc. assures us their facility is extremely safe and that it will never leak. And, I am sure the oil companies assured Santa Barbara’s community that oil seepage would never mar their beautiful beaches. Well, there is proof to the contrary. Walk on the beaches in Santa Barbara and your feet will inevitably be covered in oil spots. It’s even finding its way to Malibu now.

Energy companies will tell the public anything to be able to reap their profits at the public’s expense. I know. I wrote for a major oil company’s public affairs department 20 years ago as a summer journalism intern. I was assigned to report on CARB (California Air Resources Board). The agency wanted oil companies to retrofit their refineries in order to cut sulfur dioxide emissions in diesel fuel, which had been scientifically proven to cause cancers. Naively, I was bent on writing a balanced article.

The oil company’s Head of Public Affairs simply edited out one side of the story. The side of the story that was omitted offered scientific evidence that sulfur dioxide in diesel fuels causes cancers. So, pardon me if I am highly skeptical regarding any data BHP Billiton Inc. wants to advertise on their safety record. If you love Malibu as I do, please contact your incumbent City Council members as well as those who oppose them in the upcoming election.

Kim Hughes