MemberSeptember 19, 2021 at 10:07 am
The California Independent Petroleum Association, representing nearly 400 oil and gas industry entities, opposed the measure. In a letter to the board, CEO Rock Zierman said a phaseout of oil and gas production would threaten hundreds of jobs, raise gas prices and make California more dependent on oil from foreign countries.
Sentinel Peak Resources, owner of Inglewood Oil Field, did not respond to calls and emails for comment on the motion.
Inglewood Oil Field is adjacent to several Black communities, including Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights and View Park, where residents have worried about the field’s impact on their health and the local environment for at least a decade. Residents have complained of foul odors from the wells and say they have seen oil bubbling through sidewalk cracks in their neighborhoods.
“There are tens of thousands of people who live in very close proximity to oil wells, 73% of whom are people of color,” Mitchell said in an interview before the vote. “So, for me, it really is an equity issue.”
Inglewood Oil Field was the site of a spill in April when a pipeline leaked more than 1,600 gallons (6,000 liters) of oil, according to the California Governor’s Office Emergency Services. Supporters of the phaseout have said that shutting down drilling will move the region closer to environmental equity.
Companies have been drilling for oil in Los Angeles since the late-1890s, and the area quickly became a hub for oil production in California. Oil was found in Baldwin Hills in 1924, long before Black Americans gravitated there and to other communities with oil facilities because of housing discrimination and the affordable real estate.
Sonya Vasquez of the Los Angeles-based non profit Community Health Councils has been working with Baldwin Hills residents for years on issues related to the oil field.