The letter of Edward L. Kussman, housing chairman, San Fernando Valley NAACP, expressing support for off-shore oil drilling in Pacific Palisades (March 19) presents an unseemly spectacle of a civil rights organization representative's public advocacy of the interests of oil companies. As residents of South-Central Los Angeles, which certainly suffers from a disproportionate share of environmental problems, we find this insensitivity to environmental concerns appalling.
Kussman points out that oil companies have been permitted to drill in other sections of the Southland. Rather than argue against further damage to our Southland communities, Kussman urges that it be expanded in the name of equity. He implies that those who will benefit the most from a prohibition against oil drilling in the Palisades are the rich and powerful residents of that community.
In fact, the area which will suffer the most damage from off-shore oil drilling is the environmentally sensitive coastline and its public beaches. These resources belong to all of the people. Oil companies should not be permitted to spoil them in pursuit of a blind corporate greed. They should not be allowed to drill on public land for private profit.
The argument that what benefits the oil companies, benefits the public is simply too facile to be taken seriously. A consortium of oil companies planned to lay the Angelus Pipeline through the San Fernando Valley and down Western Avenue for the purpose of transporting liquid natural gas-infused sour crude oil across active earthquake faults from Santa Barbara County to Southern California refineries, thereby generating substantial risks of catastrophe and increased air pollution. It would be nice if Kussman of the NAACP were to oppose this planned assault upon such communities as South-Central Los Angeles rather than endorsing similar attacks upon our Southern California environment in other locations.