City of Whittier Statement Issued on Matrix Oil Project

September 14, 2012

Joint Press Release: The City of Whittier and Open Space Legal Defense Fund are pleased to announce the settlement and conclusion of litigation which has been pending between the two parties concerning the validity of the City’s lease of property located in the Puente Hills to Matrix Oil for aniticipated oil production. The City’s Council approved the lease and a use permit allowing the process to proceed after having heard the opposition and suggestions for migating conditions offered by Open Space Legal Defense Fund, as well as others, over a period of many months and after the conduct of multiple public hearings. Many of the suggested mitigation measures have been included as conditions to project implementation and others are contained in the settlement agreement between the parties. The litigation challenged the adequacy of the Environmental Impact Report supporting the project and asserted that the project did not conform to the restrictions on property use contained within documents facilitating the City’s purchase of the property and did not adequately protect open space public trust assets. The City’s stated goal was and is to maintain the open space assets available to the public while generating an income stream to the City and the Wilderness Preserve which would support City services without tax increases far in to the future. Both parties feel that their efforts and goals are now best served through the consummation of this settlement.