January 13, 2011



Attorneys representing Matrix Oil Company in a letter threatening to sue individual members of WHOW demanded the clarification below.  We do not believe this clarification alters public debate over the safety of oil operations in the Whittier Hills.

CLARIFICATION TO DECEMBER 18, 2010 MAILER REGARDING DEATH CAUSED BY 2005 EXPLOSION ON MATRIX OWNED AND OPERATED HONOLULU TERRACE SITE and resulting lawsuit entitled Delaney et al. v. Matrix Oil Corporation, et al. Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. VC 046677.

On December 18, 2010 WHOW sent a mailer soliciting contributions to support a legal action maintained by the Open Space Legal Defense Fund to terminate the Whittier/Matrix lease, which permits Matrix to drill for oil and gas in our wilderness preserve.  The lease agreement is for the entire Open Space Preserve area, which is approximately 1280 acres in the Whittier Hills. This preserve includes land designated Significant Ecological Areas by Los Angeles County and contains portions of the last remaining chaparral, native oak woodlands, and coastal sage scrub. The lease permits Matrix to conduct noxious operations on this Open Space Preserve land.  The legal action seeks to terminate the Whittier/Matrix lease on grounds that the lease is in violation of the City Charter and Proposition A, which was approved by county voters.   

In its mailer WHOW made reference to the unfortunate 2005 death of Herbert Delaney, Jr. who was providing services to Matrix under the employment of Pool Well Services Company (“Pool”).  Pool was a Matrix Oil Corporation subcontractor hired to increase the production of a Matrix-owned and operated oil well at the Honolulu Terrance oil production facility in Whittier, California. On May 19, 2005, flammable gas and/or vapor were released from the open wellhead and ignited by the engine on the rig, which was located in close proximity to the well.  An explosion and subsequent fire occurred, which caused Mr. Delaney’s death and severe burns to two other Pool employees. 

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the wife and three children of Herbert Delaney, entitled Connie Delaney, et al. v. Matrix Oil Corporation, et al. in the Norwalk Court, VC046677, whereby the Delaney family received a settlement in the amount of $3,075,000 from defendants; with Matrix contributing $1,075,000. The Delaney family argued that Matrix shared in the responsibility as the well owner-operator, by negligently managing subcontractors in failing to assure that safety procedures were followed in accordance with permits.

Matrix has threatened to sue individual members in WHOW for the release of this information and specifically on grounds that the letter stated Mr. Delaney was a Matrix employee at the time of his death.  WHOW desires to clarify that Mr. Delaney was not directly employed by Matrix.  Mr. Delaney’s unfortunate death occurred while carrying out oil production operations for Matrix at Honolulu Terrace in WhittierMatrix’s alleged failure to oversee the operations resulted in Matrix’s capitulation and sizeable contribution to the settlement. 

The Whittier/Matrix lease would allow Matrix to carry out similar operations on all 1280 acres of the Proposition A protected wilderness preserve.  Up to 60 oil wells are contemplated for the project.

Sources:  United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration Report ID 0950637 Open Date 5/19/2005, Whittier Daily News Article “Oil Well Fire Continues to Burn” May 20, 2005 and VerdictSearch. Com, Verdict Search case number 155560.



October 28, 2010
Bob Henderson is pushing oil drilling in our hills.  He once was on the otherside of the fence trying to save our Open Spaces.  Now he is trying to destroy it.  He lies and said it won't hurt the hills.  I got news for him.  Anything he does will hurt our hills and wildlife.  Show your discuss with our City Council and e-mail them and let them know you want them to resign or risk being recalled or not getting re-elected.  Save one of the few natural wilderness in SOCAL.  Oh yes,  did you know...
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