On a High Note: Oil and Gas Drilling Could End in LA
Within the city of Los Angeles, there are about 5,000 active or idle oil and gas wells. These wells in the heart of the city have caused health issues for nearby communities. Now, after a decade of complaints, the LA City Council is considering a ban on new oil and gas wells. The upcoming vote also includes phasing out existing wells. If LA's local government passes the ban, it would fulfill action that hasn't yet happened at the state level. Governor Gavin Newsom called for oil regulators to establish protections for Californians who live close to oil and gas drilling sites, but the state hasn't passed enforceable legislation.
The ban would be a win for public health as well as the climate since about 75% of the city's active oil or gas wells are located within 500 meters of "sensitive land uses" -- think homes, schools, and parks -- the air pollution impacts on people living and working near them are high. It's also a justice issue. Predominantly Latino or Black neighborhoods are most impacted.
"We got involved because we were hearing from communities that were experiencing health impacts because they were living next to these oil fields. And what we were finding was that in low-income communities and communities of color, we had less protections," Martha Dina Argüello, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, told AP.
AJ+: The Secret, Toxic Oil Wells Underneath Los Angeles, December 21, 2021.
Patagonia: District 15 | Stop Neighborhood Oil Drilling, February 26, 2020.