Los Angeles City Council Moves to End Oil and Gas Drilling

Oil wells in Baldwin Hills, a neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Oil wells in Baldwin Hills, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. The City Project via Flickr

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Friday to ban all new oil and gas drilling within the city and to phase out existing wells over the next 20 years.

“The half a million Angelenos who live within a quarter mile of our remaining oil wells suffer greater adverse health effects, including respiratory ailments, cancer, and problem pregnancies,” tweeted City Council President Paul Krekorian. “Today’s vote is a victory for community activism and environmental justice.”

The city of Los Angeles is home to 26 oil and gas fields and more than 5,000 wells, with active, idle, and abandoned wells dotting much of the city, from downtown to the west side. A 2021 study found that Angelinos living near oil wells suffered respiratory harm similar to breathing secondhand smoke daily. Studies have also found that people living near drilling sites are at greater risk of developing leukemia and at greater risk of preterm birth.

The new ordinance comes on the heels of a similar measure, passed unanimously by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, that bans new drilling in unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County and phases out existing projects over the next two decades.

“The future of LA will be free from fossil fuel extraction — thanks to the hard work and persistence of frontline communities who fought for over a decade,” environmental group STAND-LA said in statement. “We have a lot of work to do, and today’s victory speaks to the power we have to create change.”


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