LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Building on the County’s commitment to phasing out oil drilling, today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion authored by Chair Holly J. Mitchell, and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, to ensure the County’s environmental policies and programs to protect communities are aligned with the County’s updated Oil Well Ordinance and Senate Bill 1137- which prohibits new oil wells within 3,200 feet of residential neighborhoods and requires new health and safety regulations. The motion also directs the Department of Public Health to develop a pilot for an equity-based Community Air Monitoring Program to better safeguard unincorporated communities near active oil drilling sites.
“We know that neighborhood oil drilling will not end overnight, and we’re not asking frontline communities to continue waiting for improved air quality or protections. Instead, we’re acting now on what we know works. Continuous community air monitoring can be implemented quickly and will provide robust insights to help us better protect our residents” said Board Chair Holly J. Mitchell, representing the Second Supervisorial District. “This motion puts us on the right path to establish the funding and support needed to implement the crucial health and safety protections necessary for ending oil drilling.”
“Our dependence on oil and gas has been devastating, but no one has suffered more directly than the families that live, work, and play next to oil and gas drilling sites. These communities suffer higher rates of asthma, reproductive health problems, and even cancer. We are starting an ambitious effort to phase out oil and gas drilling in our unincorporated areas, but in the meantime, we need to step up and address the health concerns posed by ongoing drilling” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, representing the Fourth Supervisorial District.
Existing community air monitoring programs in the County are led by state and regional agencies and collect data intermittently or upon request, further highlighting the need for continuous monitoring near oil drilling sites. A Community Air Monitor Program will help strengthen oversight, inter-agency coordination and data transparency to ensure air quality does not worsen as oil drilling operations are phased out.
In September of 2021 the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a set of motions to initiate the phase out of oil drilling operations and create a just transition for workers to connect to family sustaining jobs in the green economy. Today’s motion directs the Department of Public Health in collaboration with relevant County departments to report back in 120-days with a framework for ensuring the County is in complete alignment with new local and state policies and proactively creating solutions for any gaps or opportunities that can better protect frontline communities near oil drilling sites.
To read the full motion, click here.