Southern Sierran

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter
August 2019

Legacy of Fight That Saved 640 Acres Still Teetering on the Edge of Destruction - Ballona Wetlands

The Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve is rare, one of the last surviving seasonal freshwater habitats contiguous to the California Coastline.


Oil Fields - When the Damage is Done

Oil Fields: When the Damage is done: Angeles Chapter Sierra ClubBy Lynne Plambeck 

The Sierra Club has opposed the 21,000 unit Newhall Ranch project in the Santa Clarita Valley for over two decades. We have always felt that auto oriented urban sprawl is not the answer to our housing needs and will only aggravate climate change and the need for more fossil fuel extraction. Its impacts to the Santa Clara River, Los Angeles County’s last free-flowing river, several threatened and endangered species and questions over water supply are continuing concerns. However, another concern was also in the forefront – building residential units over an old oil field.

Fence line communities are on the “front line” of the extractive industries negative impact. With noise and pollution right next door, the adverse impacts and injustice are visible and obvious on a daily basis. 

Grading on the 4000 unit Mission tract phase of Newhall Ranch began last year in spite of continued community opposition.

As the Club and other climate activists continue to oppose extractive industries near communities and demand environmental justice for those neighborhoods, conversion of old oil fields and other brown fields to housing is one more aspect of oil extraction and its effect on our communities that must be watched.

Learn More >

Inglewood Oil Field is Killing Us

By Nicole Levin
Oil Fields: Inglewood Oil Field Is Killing Us: Angeles Chapter Sierra Club
Over 550 active oil wells can be found pumping millions of barrels of oil a year, but the largest urban field in the nation is here in Los Angeles. At Kenneth Hahn State Park, visitors can find unsightly pump jacks near homes, schools, and even community playgrounds.
The Inglewood Oil Field – technically located in Baldwin Hills – is a public health risk to those living around it and to the greater Los Angeles region. It’s time for a just transition and phase out of the oil field.

These oil fields are deadly at a national level too. Extraction and burning this fuel contributes to climate change. Data analysis estimates that the fuel burned from the entire L.A. Basin is equal to the annual emissions of 9.6 million passenger vehicles or 11 coal plants.

The Inglewood Oil Field should have been phased out years ago; in fact, Culver City previously voted to phase out the ten percent of the field they control, but it’s not all bad news. We have a rare opportunity to take action and demand that this oil field be transitioned into a natural park.

Currently, the remaining 90% of oil field regulations are under review and being updated this year. There is room for public comment in the process – if you’re interested in getting involved, please join the fight.

Take Action >

Environmental Justice Committee

These Hills are for the Birds

By Yvonne (Martinez) Watson and Linda Stong
These Hills Are For The Birds: Angeles Chapter Sierra Club

Plans for a new housing development in the Montebello Hills will put people at risk of serious harm. The project known as the Montebello Hills Specific Plan is a 1,200-unit housing development that would be built in the center of a working oil field.

Sadly, the City of Montebello approved the Montebello housing project on June 10, 2015. A local citizens’ group immediately launched a California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit, but were unsuccessful. Yet, all is not lost.

The Montebello Hills oil field hosts pockets of California Coastal Sage Scrub habitat and a core population of the endangered bird known as the California gnatcatcher. In 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Biological Opinion for this project that requires the developer to create a 260-acre gnatcatcher reserve. The housing project cannot move forward without final approvals from the USFWS. Around this time, we first learned that Central Basin Municipal Water District was planning a separate recycled water pipeline and pump station project to serve the massive grading, construction and irrigation needs of the housing development. This was very alarming because the location of the pump station was on the land intended for the gnatcatcher reserve, a location that was not a part of the approved environmental impact report. Based on these facts and additional information, the certification of their own MND was rejected.

Will the end of this recycled water project stop the housing project?

Read Full Article >

Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve Once Again Threatened with Bulldozers

By Richard Harmel
Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve Once Again Threatened: Angeles Chapter Sierra Club

Thirty years ago, environmental activists fought to protect a 640-acre piece of what was once a 2,000-acre seasonal freshwater wetland habitat. The threats? There were two: 1) Playa Vista land developers who set their sights on bulldozing the Ballona, and 2) SOCALGAS/Playa Del Rey, whose high pressure underground gas storage facilities, cause unconscionable leakage and migration of toxic gases, contaminating the environment: water, soil, and the seasonal freshwater wetland habitat.

Through Sierra Club’s efforts, we prevailed. In 2003, the State purchased the land and 520 acres were placed into the public trust.

Fifteen years ago, this last remaining coastal wetland in Los Angeles County was granted Ecological Reserve status, providing the Ballona Wetlands with the highest level of protection that the State of California can confer on an endangered ecological habitat. Today, once again, Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve is threatened with bulldozers; escaping, migrating gases; soil and water contamination; and systematic illegal corporate policies dewatering and drying out the Ballona.

Sierra Club, along with other environmental activists, are once again rallying to protect this traditional and seasonal freshwater wetland. Find Out More >


Governor Signs Legislation Dealing a Major Blow to the Cadiz Inc. Mojave Desert Water Mining Project

By John Monsen

Governor Signs Legislation Cadiz Mojave Desert Water Mining Project: Angeles Chapter Sierra Club

Yesterday Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 307 into law, dealing a major setback to the Cadiz Inc water mining project in the Mojave Desert. The legislation, a victory for the Sierra Club and its allies, will require a stringent safety review by the State Lands Commission of projects that could impact desert water resources. The governor noted that the new state review will be based on “independent scientific analysis” and that for a project to go forward it must demonstrate “certainty that it will not threaten important natural our cultural resources.” 

Cadiz had hoped to extract 16 billion gallons of water a year from underneath the Mojave Trails National Monument near Joshua Tree National Park. Adding momentum to the passage of the bill were two recent scientific studies confirming earlier findings that the Cadiz project was unsustainable and would dry up springs essential to the survival of desert life. 

SB307 gives the State Lands Commission two years to review the project. The Cadiz response has been to fund over a million dollars in “independent” research hoping to use the results with the State Land Commission. Our job now is to make sure that no one takes these new Cadiz-funded studies seriously.

Get More Info >

Documentary on Environmentally Responsible Change: Angeles Chapter Sierra Club


The Devil We Know is a documentary about a group of citizens that challenge a powerful corporation to be more environmentally responsible, highlighting the dangers of toxic chemical PFAS.

Hosted by: Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, in partnership with Bell Gardens High School and City of Bell Gardens. Assemblymember Cristina Garcia will provide a legislative report to inform the public about the dangers of PFAS in drinking water and potentially in your bloodstream. The legislative report will include an update on Assembly Bill 756- consumer disclosure of PFAS in your public water systems.


Thursday, August 29th
Bell Gardens High School
6119 Agra St, Bell Gardens, CA 90201

Featuring: Film Director Stephanie Soechtig, Q&A

Free popcorn, drinks and resources.
Open to everyone, first come, first serve
Sponsored by Sierra Club Angeles Chapter 

Register Here >

Travel Adventure

Travel Adventures: Angeles Chapter Sierra Club

NOV. 15 - 23, 2019
There's no better way to explore the Caribbean than with the Angeles Chapter Travel Adventurers aboard the Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas. We set sail from Miami: going to Key West, Florida, Cozumel, and Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico and Grand Cayman! There will be three days at sea and disembark in Miami. More info and RSVP Here

MAY. 15 - 22, 2020
Travel with your Sierra Club friends to see the "wilder" side of Alaska! Come cruise aboard the Radiance of the Seas from Vancouver, B.C. to Seward, AK. Sailing through the Inside Passage. More info and RSVP Here

AUGUST. 22 - 30, 2020
Join us for a grand tour of four National Parks in the Canadian Rockies, Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho on our expanded trip with eight nights in Canada. On the last night, you will see the Fireworks Finale of the Calgary Globalfest 2020 International Fireworks. More info and RSVP Here


California Sellers of Travel # CST 2087766-40
Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Travel: Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Featured Outings: Angeles Chapter Sierra Club

Newcomers Hike - Griffith Park | August 3, 2019
Easy paced, hilly walk, 3 miles, 500 ft. elevation gain, approx. 2 hrs. Newcomers welcome! We'll hike up to the <La La Land> bench, down through shady Fern Dell, and enjoy views of the Hollywood Sign and the Griffith Observatory. RSVP & Details

Southern California Trails Night | August 6, 2019
Come learn about all the great hiking trails available to you throughout Southern California! RSVP & Details

Griffith Park Monthly Moonlight Hike and Potluck | August 10, 2019
Moderate hike to a vista in the park. RSVP & Details

PAC 2020: Countdown To a Green Future| August 11, 2019
Help keep California Green! This is the premiere fundraising event for the Sierra Club's political activities in Los Angeles and Orange County and we need your donation to support environmentally friendly candidates at the local and state level. Our Sierra Club Political Leadership award will be given to outstanding political leaders from Los Angeles and Orange Counties along with the Inland Empire. Get Your Ticket and Learn More 

Back Bay Science Center | August 17, 2019
Spend a day learning about the wetlands and estuary of Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve at the Back Bay Science Center in Newport Beach. RSVP & Details

 Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Newcomer Hike | August 18, 2019 
Easy paced, reasonably flat, 5 mile hike, approx 3 hrs. Newcomers Welcome. Enjoy the natural beauty of Bolsa Chica, one of the last remaining wetland ecosystems in Southern California. RSVP & Details

Moderate Easy Pace Hikers | August 20, 2019
Low tide beach walk from Dan Blocker County Beach to Malibu Lagoon. RSVP & Details

Crystal Cove Pot Luck Brunch Hike | August 25, 2019
Four miles round trip. Enjoy the cool morning air in a walk along Crystal Cove Beach, break for a potluck brunch, then return to parking location. RSVP & Details

Catalina Island Fun in the Sun | August 31 - September 2, 2019
A fantastic 3-day Island vacation awaits you twenty-six miles across the ocean at Camp Emerald BayRSVP & Details 

For more trips view our Featured Outings

Looking for more adventures, outings and events? Check out our Schedule of Activities for the full list.

Donate Your Vehicle: Angeles Chapter Sierra Club

Donate Your Vehicle Online or call us at 844-6-SIERRA or 844-674-3772. Specify that you support the Angeles Chapter. We will tow your vehicle at no cost to you. Get a tax-deductible receipt and help our cause. We accept all types of vehicles.