Los Angeles is home to the largest urban oil field in the United States. Due to decades of redlining, environmental racism, and indifference of elected officials, the majority of these oil fields are concentrated in low-income Black and Latinx communities from South Los Angeles to Wilmington. This rule is an important development to protect the over 200,000 Angelenos that live within half a mile (2,500 feet) of oil drilling.
“Wilmington residents have lived with the dangerous health impacts of oil drilling for far too long. The Governor’s announcement regarding the CALGEM rulemaking shows us that the Newsom administration is listening to us,” said Wendy Miranda, Wilmington Community Member, Communities for a Better Environment. “We need the Governor and his team to strengthen this rule. And at the same time we need local elected officials in the City of Los Angeles to address hundreds of wells in our neighborhood not covered by the draft rule -- and to finally approve their own proposal to comprehensively phase out oil drilling in our City. Countless frontline environmental justice communities have been waiting -- and organizing -- for years. Whether it’s at LA City Hall or in Sacramento, we will continue to organize until policies protecting our neighborhoods from big oil become law."
“Today’s announcement represents years of work by environmental justice advocates to put public health first after over a century of prioritizing oil company profits above health and safety. Governor Newsom and his administration are now listening to the front line communities and health professionals who have borne the burden of proving harm from oil extraction,” said Martha Dina Arguello, executive director of PSR-LA. “The Governor’s leadership should spark the Los Angeles City Council into action, to pass a motion before the end of 2021 to phase out oil drilling across the city. We know there is no safe distance for oil and gas drilling, and until we phase out all drilling, our communities will continue to be at risk from day-to-day operations and the continuous threat of catastrophic accidents like we saw in Orange County."
“For generations, the health and quality of life of low-income BIPOC communities have been compromised for the profit of oil industries. We've worked with South Los Angeles community leaders for years, building a large-scale grassroots movement that centers their experiences with the collective vision of completely phasing out oil drilling,” said Gloria Medina, executive director of SCOPE. “Today's announcement is an important first step towards holding oil industries accountable by building a standard setback for oil drilling sites. We commend the Governor's decision to prioritize frontline communities. We are hopeful that California will continue to work towards an equitable and just transition that centers the voices of low-income BIPOC communities.”
You can find the full text of the draft rule here.