Los Angeles City Council approves phaseout of oil drilling

Los Angeles skyline

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved a measure to ban new oil and gas wells and phase out existing ones.

The measure would shut down oil and gas fields in the city after a decade of complaints from residents about negative health impacts – nosebleeds, wheezing, coughing – they blamed on air pollution from the sites.

Activists say that Black and Latino residents of the city are the most affected by pollution from the sites.

The Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote Wednesday on a measure that would ban new oil and gas wells in the nation's second most populous city and phase out hundreds of existing ones.

The measure would shut down oil and gas fields in the city after a decade of complaints from residents about negative health impacts such as nosebleeds, wheezing and coughing that they blamed on air pollution from the sites. Activists say that Blacks and Latinos are the city residents most affected by pollution from the sites.

If the proposal passes, Los Angeles would become the third government entity in the county to approve a ban and phaseout of oil and gas. Culver City and unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County have taken similar steps.

Representatives from oil and gas industry groups oppose these types of measures, saying they would raise gas prices, eliminate jobs and make the region more dependent on foreign oil.

These oil and gas phaseouts are part of a statewide movement in California to move away from fossil fuel production and usage in order to meet climate goals and improve public health.

In October, the state's oil and gas regulator proposed a ban on new oil and gas wells within 3,200 feet (975 metres) of schools, homes and hospitals.

If those proposed rules become state policy, existing wells would be required to enact new pollution controls. The measure before the Los Angeles City Council would phase out oil and gas drilling entirely.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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