CA Battle to Prioritize Public Health over Oil Company Profits Heats Up

"Proposed California bills would protect residents in mostly low-income communities of color by speeding cleanup of dangerous neighborhood oil wells. But industry is fighting to keep even idle wells unplugged."

"On a dreary afternoon in January, a geyser of oily water shot over the fence of an oil and gas company in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Wilmington, splattering the street, cars and a local coffee shop with petroleum just a block away from Ashley Hernandez’s house.

The frightening spectacle was just the latest in a long line of blowouts, spills and explosions to contaminate a community long dominated, and sickened, by oil drilling in the neighborhood.

Hernandez, an organizer for the nonprofit Communities for a Better Environment, was three or four years old when her parents moved from the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles, to Wilmington, a heavily industrialized neighborhood at the city’s southern edge. One of her earliest memories in the family’s new home was seeing her mom strap on an odd contraption while gasping for air. Hernandez grew up thinking it was normal to use a nebulizer every day. She thought it was normal to endure the headaches, nosebleeds and heart palpitations she and so many of her classmates always seemed to have. She thought it was normal to lose so many relatives and loved ones to cancer.

Now 31, Hernandez wishes she knew then what she knows now."

Liza Gross reports for Inside Climate News May 3, 2024.

Source: Inside Climate News, 05/06/2024