Environmentalists move to halt Whittier drilling

LOS ANGELES — Environmentalists have been denied a restraining order to stop an oil company from clearing lands in Whittier, one step of many towards drilling for oil in the area.

In a filing Thursday, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority sought an immediate temporary restraining order to halt alleged clearing and grading operations by Matrix Oil Corporation and others.

The environmentalists say the move comes after heavy earth moving equipment was brought to the site on Wednesday.

Matrix spokesman Michael McCaskey says the restraining order was denied and it’s untrue Matrix wants to do any grading. They do seek to clear 1.8 acres of vegetation for an inspection, which is allowed under Matrix’s permit with the city of Whittier.

Environmentalists have long opposed drilling in the Los Angeles suburb’s 1,290-acre wilderness preserve.