In a big win for frontline communities, public health, and environmental justice, the Los Angeles City Council’s Energy, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice Committee earlier this month voted unanimously to pass a motion to pursue a citywide phase-out of oil drilling. The motion directs the City Attorney to draft an ordinance declaring oil and gas production sites non-conforming land uses. The motion will next face a full City Council vote, giving local lawmakers a historic opportunity to protect the health and well-being of Angelenos for decades to come.
This welcome and unprecedented development is the product of years of unwavering advocacy and community organizing by impacted residents and environmental justice advocates who have worked alongside and in partnership with the STAND-L.A. coalition. The Committee's vote demonstrates the power of community collaboration and persistence, while validating and centering the long-ignored public health concerns of South LA residents in regard to neighborhood oil drilling.
Many oil production sites in Los Angeles are located in underserved low-income communities of color, exposing already over-burdened Angelenos to unfair and unjust health risks. At the online committee meeting, NRDC and other advocates testified about the severe health impacts that living next to oil production sites can have on the local residents. Many members from impacted frontline communities also provided firsthand accounts of living in close proximity to these drill sites, bringing awareness to the daily impacts of urban oil drilling.
We urge the City Council to take up this motion quickly and acknowledge that it is time to transition away from oil production in Los Angeles. This is a critical opportunity for the City Council to protect frontline communities and all Angelenos from the serious risks of urban oil drilling.
Thanks to my colleagues Dani Garcia and Kathryn Dunn for their contributions to this blog post.