Los Angeles To Phase Out Oil Drilling

The city has banned new wells and will end all extraction within two decades.

2 minute read

December 6, 2022, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

View of black oil wells behind chain link fence with barbed wire top

Oil drilling in central Los Angeles, California. | Dogora Sun / Oil wells

Los Angeles, a city where vast fields of oil wells once dotted the landscape and more than 5,000 active and defunct oil wells still exist in unlikely places, often masked by walls or faux buildings, will ban new wells and phase out drilling altogether, reports Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Times.

“In a 12-0 vote, the [city] council approved a new ordinance that immediately bans new oil and gas extraction and requires that all existing oil and gas extractions stop production within 20 years.” The move comes after decades of work by environmental justice activists who say the urban drilling operations harmed surrounding communities. “Oil wells are known to emit likely carcinogens including benzene and formaldehyde, and living near wells is linked to health problems including respiratory issues and preterm births, studies have found.”

The law was passed as the L.A. city council remains roiled by controversy, with many community activists pushing the officials to suspend business until councilmembers involved in a recent scandal resign. Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling, or STAND-L.A., who led the campaign for the new law, tied the recently surfaced racist audio to the city’s legacy of discriminatory policies, noting that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by pollution. According to STAND-L.A., “Our city and this council must own up to the anti-Blackness that created policies that allowed oil drilling in neighborhoods in the first place and that fostered an environment where such a horrific example of racism and corruption could occur between council members.”

Friday, December 2, 2022 in Los Angeles Times

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