Los Angeles To Phase Out Oil Drilling

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

Read Time: 2 minutes

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

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Green bike lane with flexible delineators and textures paint in Hoboken, New Jersey

America’s Best New Bike Lanes

PeopleForBikes highlights some of the most exciting new bike infrastructure projects completed in 2022.

January 31, 2023 - PeopleforBikes

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

A tent covered in blue and black tarps sits on a downtown Los Angeles sidewalk with the white ziggurat-topped L.A. City Hall looming in the background

L.A. County Towns Clash Over Homelessness Policies

Local governments often come to different conclusions about how to address homelessness within their respective borders, but varying approaches only exacerbate the problem.

February 3 - Shelterforce Magazine

Rendering of mixed-use development with parks and stormwater retention on former Houston landfill site

A Mixed-Use Vision for Houston Landfill Site

A local nonprofit is urging the city to consider adding mixed-use development to the site, which city officials plan to turn into a stormwater detention facility.

February 3 - Urban Edge

Aerial view of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin at sunset

Milwaukee County Makes Substantial Progress on Homelessness

In 2022, the county’s point-in-time count of unhoused people reflected just 18 individuals, the lowest in the country.

February 3 - Urban Milwaukee