The city of Los Angeles is home to thousands of oil wells and refineries, many of them found near homes, schools, parks, places of worship and hospitals. They harken back to the 1890s when the city discovered some of the most productive oil fields in history. As its population grew, the borders between oil producing zones and residential neighborhoods disappeared. The wells release toxic emissions causing debilitating health problems especially in front-line communities living closest to them.
A grass-roots coalition called STAND-LA has been fighting for the rights of Angelinos to breathe clean air. Last week, following a city council hearing, the coalition held a rally outside City Hall in downtown LA. Dozens of allies came to support their demands – which include instituting a 2,500-foot health and safety buffer around oil wells, plus a phase-out plan of existing oil and gas operations in those neighborhoods, as well as a just transition toward renewable energy.
Rising Up senior producer Anna Buss attended the rally and produced this report as part of our Earth Day Special programming, and our ongoing series Rising Up In the Streets.
** This story was created as part of the 2018-2019 Climate Solutions Fellowship under the New Economy Reporting Project, sponsored by the New Economy Coalition and the Media Consortium.