Phase Out Oil in Inglewood
Phase Out Oil in Inglewood
Photo by John Nilsson
Culver City to Phase Out Oil Extraction on Inglewood Oil Field (IOF)
For nearly 100 years, residents of the Greater Baldwin Hills region in South Los Angeles have borne the brunt of significant environmental and health impacts as a result of the operation of the Inglewood Oil Field. This 94-year-old urban oil field has a long legacy of failures that have polluted our local environment and impacted the health and safety of our community while providing little benefit in return. These incidents are only growing more frequent as infrastructure ages and oil extraction becomes more difficult. Additionally, continuing oil extraction contributes to the existential threat of climate change and high-pressure oil well techniques puts our community at higher risk of nasty pollutants.
There have been an increasing number of incidents which have had negative impacts on the community and our environment. Most recently, on April 1, 2019, there was an oil-water spill from the Block #31 well where hazardous overflow made its way to the storm drain. On Thanksgiving night last year, November 22, 2018, a produced water containment tank spilled from Inglewood Tank #2 and caused many neighbors to file complaints about toxic odors.
These most recent incidents only add to the legacy of failures that have plagued this oil field and the surrounding communities. Underground injection of oil extraction wastewater caused the failure of the Baldwin Hills Dam in December 1963 that resulted in a massive flood, five deaths and $11 million in property damage. In 2005 and 2006 major toxic releases from the oil field caused massive public outcry that resulted in a settlement agreement and the IOF’s current regulations.
Such events serve as unfortunate reminders that oil and gas operations are inappropriate in urban areas. The only real way to fully protect residents’ health and the health of the environment is to begin the process of ceasing all hazardous activities. In June 2018, the Culver City City Council unanimously voted to develop a plan to phase out oil drilling in its 10% of the IOF. Likewise, the Sierra Club Clean Break team is working to encourage the County of Los Angeles to phase out oil and gas operations in the other 90% of the IOF, clean up the field, and convert it to the long-awaited 1000-acre Baldwin Hills Park.
For more information, go to www.cleanbreak.info. You can also take action and help us urge the LA County Board of Supervisors to choose the 100% renewable energy default for our community choice energy program.