No More Oil Drilling in LA County

Although California has a reputation as a green state, over the years, it has remained of the country’s biggest suppliers of oil. In fact, it sits on the largest urban oil field in the United States. Los Angeles has been one of the world’s biggest oil suppliers since the 1920s, although production has slowed down considerably. However, Los Angeles County is taking the unprecedented step in ending oil and gas drilling within its borders, specifically in unincorporated parts of the county. This will result in the closure of about 1,600 oil wells. Additionally, there will be a ban on any new oil wells.

The supervisors (led by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell) of Los Angeles County voted unanimously. Because of this vote, LA County will be the first in the nation to ban oil and gas drilling. This is a historic feat, considering that LA County is the most populous county in the United States. This is a major win for environmental justice!

The move was primarily created to protect not only frontline workers but also the communities where the oil fields reside. The majority of the county’s oil fields are located in the Inglewood area, which is a community of 73% residents of color.

A truck drives past pump jacks operating at the Inglewood Oil Field on June 10, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Due to the proximity of the rigs in these communities, residents were exposed to and or at risk for a variety of health issues. Those issues include (according to Bloomberg) headaches, nosebleeds, breathing issues, and the increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and asthma.

Although the vote was completed, the timeline is not yet set in stone for the phasing out of oil and gas drilling. As of now, the county is trying to figure out the fastest way to legally and ethically shut down the wells. This means that the oil companies will be motivated to pay for the cleanup of the sites so that this task will not be a burden for taxpayers.

In order to assist the workers, the county is working on a plan that will help workers and their families transition to careers in clean energy and “other climate-friendly industries”. The county also has a plan in place to ensure that all of the wells are closed and properly cleaned. Lastly, the measure encourages residents, oil companies, and other stakeholders to explore other uses of the land.

This is a major milestone in making a more green Southern California, and we that the rest of California, as well as the country, follows suit. So far, Culver City has also passed a phase-out, which is set to be completed within the next five years. The city of Los Angeles is also planning the same. .So far, it looks like Southern California is making many more large steps in reducing its environmental impact.

For more information, you can visit the LA Times.

Earthwise Hauling is dedicated to creating a more eco-friendly and sustainable Southern California. Earthwise Hauling serves the Long Beach area, as well as the majority of Los Angeles and Orange County.