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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Our Neighborhood

Protesters Rally Against Oil Drilling Plant Near USC

South L.A. residents are concerned about what they say is unsafe oil drilling in their neighborhood.

1371 W. Jefferson Blvd. is the location that has caused ample amounts of criticism around Los Angeles. The oil company, Freeport McMoRan, has held ground on the streets of Jefferson for years, but community members say it hasn't been very transparent with them.

"We haven't known what is going on in 30 years," long-time resident Lillian Manaca said. "Last time I was at City Hall, council members claimed they had a relationship with all of us residents, but I have never heard from one of them."

The problem that remains is the release of toxic chemicals into the atmosphere around neighboring homes in the South L.A. district. A recent study performed by the Redeemer Community Partnership Program revealed that Freeport has most of its oil sites centered in low-income neighborhoods.

"They are trying to bring all their services to South [L.A.]," co-founder of the Redeemer Program Kathryn Wiley said. "They think we are at the bottom of the totem pole here. They think we don't care. We have just as many rights as anyone else to keep our children and community safe."

Protestors and community members hope that their call for awareness will emulate the successful rally and closure of a similar site near the Esperanza Community Housing project. The Redeemer organization is drafting a petition and meeting with city council members to open up the conversation about a potential moratorium being placed on the Jefferson neighborhood drilling site.

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