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The Warren E&P North Wilmington Unit (NWU) drilling site in the Wilmington neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, on November 5, 2021. Photo by Wray Sinclair for NRDC.

Policy & Politics

LA City Council Votes Unanimously to End Urban Oil Drilling

This watershed moment — LA ending urban oil drilling — demonstrates the power of community engagement and momentum.

After several years of intense organizing by residents and community groups, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to pass a motion that will begin the process of phasing out oil drilling throughout the City of Los Angeles. This is a historic moment and a tremendous win for the health and safety of frontline communities.

The motion instructs city staff to prepare an ordinance that would prohibit new oil drilling and declare existing oil production activities a “nonconforming land use” in all areas of Los Angeles. The motion also directs the city to conduct an amortization study, which will look at how long it’s taking oil drillers to make back their original investment. This will determine how long the phase out period for their existing operations should be.

This big win follows on the heels of similar recent phase-out votes by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Culver City Council, cementing the Los Angeles region as the tip of the spear in the fight against neighborhood oil drilling.

Communities on the frontlines of urban oil extraction have been exposed to dangerous and toxic emissions from oil operations for generations, which has resulted in a variety of adverse health impacts including headaches, nausea, nosebleeds, and more. This is why the Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling (STAND-LA) coalition came together five years ago to say enough is enough.

This watershed moment demonstrates the power of the incredible community engagement and momentum the STAND-LA coalition has created, working alongside and in partnership with impacted residents and allied organizations. NRDC is a proud ally to STAND-LA, and the unanimous vote in favor of this motion demonstrates this city’s commitment to protecting the health and safety of Angelenos for decades to come.

Originally published by NRDC.
By Damon Nagami, Senior Attorney, Lands Division, Nature Program; and Dani Garcia of NRDC’s Nature program.

Related story: Judge halts massive Gulf of Mexico oil sale over climate impact.

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NRDC is the nation's most effective environmental action group, combining the grassroots power of 1.3 million members and online activists with the courtroom clout and expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists, and other professionals.


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