How did Los Angeles stop oil and gas drilling within city limits?

How did Los Angeles stop oil and gas drilling within city limits?

The Los Angeles (LA) City Council has voted to ban new oil and gas drilling and phase out existing wells over the next two decades, a historic decision that comes after years of complaints from residents about how pollution from nearby wells has caused health problems.

By a vote of 12 to 0, the council on Friday approved an ordinance it began drafting earlier this year that would immediately ban new mining and shut down existing operations within 20 years. The decision to ban new drilling and decommission existing wells is one of the strongest environmental policies enacted in the state and could pave the way for other cities across the country to adopt similar measures.

Historically, environmental legislation that originated in California often spread to other parts of the country, such as cleaner emission standards for automobiles in the 1970s. The state recently banned the sale of new gasoline-powered cars until 2035, and New York State soon followed suit.

There are 26 oil and gas fields and more than 5,000 active and inactive wells in the city. The wells are spread throughout the city, including Wilmington, Harbor Gateway, Downtown, West LA, South LA and the Northwest San Fernando Valley.

The oil industry largely opposed the city’s ban, arguing that phasing out production would do the trick THE more energy dependent. The council said it will ensure that oil companies are held accountable for adequate closure and completion of comprehensive remediation of sites within three to five years of the closure of production sites.

Threatened citizens’ health

The city is also conducting studies to determine when Los Angeles oil companies will be able to recoup their capital investment in drilling activities. If the operators manage to recoup those investments before the 20-year deadline, the city could require those companies to shut down production even earlier, reports CNBC.

More than half a million people in Los Angeles live within a quarter mile of active wells that release harmful air pollutants such as benzene, hydrogen sulfide, particulate matter and formaldehyde. Nearly one-third of the city’s wells are located outside of drilling sites between parks, schools, and homes, and communities of color are disproportionately affected by the health impacts of those sites.

Los Anđeles, park (Unsplash) LA

Los Angeles, park (Unsplash)

People who live closer to drilling are at greater risk of premature births, asthma, respiratory disease and cancer, research shows. Living near drilling has also been linked to reduced lung function and wheezing.

Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling, or Stand LA, an environmental organization, said in a statement that the decision “signals that black, Hispanic and other communities of color currently living near polluting oil wells and drilling rigs in South LA and Wilmington will breathe easier in the end.”

Source: BIZLife

Photo: Unsplash/Pixabay

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