Feb 27 2013
In his bid for Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti has promoted himself as the greenest of candidates.
The city councilman from Silver Lake has pushed for an expansion of L.A.’s rooftop solar-panel program and the creation of thousands of clean-energy jobs, all to reduce the region’s dependence on oil. Those positions helped Garcetti win the Sierra Club’s endorsement.
Missing from Garcetti’s environmental platform, however, is any hint that he has long stood to profit from a lease interest in a headline-making oil drilling operation: the wells run by Venoco Inc. at Beverly Hills High School.
According to documents on file with the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder’s office, Garcetti and several family members signed a 20-year lease with Venoco in 1998. It gave the company the subsurface drilling rights to a nearby Beverly Hills retail property that the councilman co-owns through a personal trust.
The lease enables Denver-based Venoco to tap oil and gas underneath the Wilshire Boulevard property by slant drilling from the high school about half a mile away.
The high school wells have been the target of some alumni, residents and environmentalists who allege the drilling has emitted dangerous levels of benzene.