Believe It or Not!
Beverly Hills High School, an educational institution near million-dollar homes lined with palm trees, neatly manicured lawns and expensive boutiques oozing with sophistication – You would think that a HUGE oil tower might seem a out of place. Well apparently, not when that tower is generating hundreds of thousands of dollars per year!
As the only high school of it’s size in this wealthy enclave of Los Angeles, California has had a long and fruitful relationship with Big Oil – indeed, the school receives approximately $300,000 a year (some sources say $700,000) in royalties courtesy of the hundreds of barrels of crude oil and 350,000 cubic feet of natural gas extracted from beneath the stylish campus every day. According to Dan Stepenosky, Beverly Hills High School Principal says about 85 percent of the teacher’s salaries come from the oil fund, the rest of the money goes to student programs.
The oil tower at Beverly Hills High is owned and operated by Venoco Inc., located in Carpinteria, Calif. Mike Edwards, the company spokesman says that the oil wells were already in place when the school opened in 1928.
“The L.A. basin is one of the richest oil basins in the world,” Edwards said. “Probably 30,000 wells were drilled since 1900. Today, about 5,000 still exist and about half of those are in production.”
Student Awareness – As IF!
But with oil literally looming over the campus, students at Beverly Hills High School are surprisingly well aware of the oil crisis hanging over the country and the environmental issues affecting the world.
“I don’t think anyone’s rich enough to afford the gas prices…I think everyone’s trying to minimize driving. There are different types of students — some have mothers driving Hummers or SUVs — but I’ve seen a lot of Honda hybrids and smaller cars, too.” student and editor of the Beverly Underground Newspaper, Erich Sorger said.