When people think of Los Angeles, celebrities and fast cars probably come to mind before oil and gas drilling. But the county has a surprising number of active and abandoned wells. On Wednesday, Los Angeles County supervisors said no more drilling.
As County Supervisor Janice Hahn put it, the plan is “a framework for how we transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy and make sure we bring our labor partners with us.” L.A. County currently has 1,046 active oil wells, 637 idle wells and 2,731 abandoned wells. The supervisors voted to start a program that will make sure the wells are properly closed and the land cleaned up. The county will also expand a task force to help fossil fuel workers transition to another kind of employment.
“The goal is to provide direction to county departments to begin addressing the variety of issues, environmental and climate impacts created by these active and inactive oil and gas wells,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, as reported by EcoWatch. Mitchell’s district includes Inglewood Oil Field, one of the country’s largest urban oil fields. Owned by Sentinel Peak Resources, Inglewood covers 1,000 acres and contains more than half the gas and oil wells found in L.A. County’s unincorporated area. In the last decade, Inglewood produced between 2.5 million and 3.1 million barrels of oil per year.
Closing Inglewood Oil Field will probably delight many locals and help them breathe deeply again. Residents of nearby Ladera Heights, Baldwin Hills and View Park have been complaining of bad smells and worrying about the oil field’s impact on their health for years. Some have seen oil bubbling up in sidewalk cracks.
“There are tens of thousands of people who live in very close proximity to oil wells, 73% of whom are people of color,” said Mitchell. “So, for me, it really is an equity issue.”
Lead image via Pixabay