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LA City Council votes to move forward with banning oil drilling – Daily News

The City Council voted to move forward on Tuesday, Nov. 22, with the process of phasing out oil and gas extraction in Los Angeles, moving the city a step closer to banning oil drilling.

Two committees had approved the item before it came before the council, which voted 10-0 to request that the city attorney prepare an ordinance to prohibit new oil and gas extraction and phase out all oil drilling activities in the city.

“We’re sending a clear message to big oil: The city of Los Angeles will no longer tolerate oil and gas extraction,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said. “Families, no matter where they live, deserve to breathe clean air, have safe neighborhoods and lead a healthy life free from the harmful impacts of dirty energy.”

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a similar ordinance earlier in October. The City Council in January unanimously approved a series of recommendations aimed at banning new oil and gas wells. The draft ordinance would phase out all such oil and gas extraction activities by immediately banning new oil and gas extraction and ceasing existing operations within 20 years.

Under a draft ordinance, operators would not be able to expand their existing sites or extend the life of a well during the 20-year phase-out period.

Long Beach, LA County’s second-largest city, decided last year to phase out its reliance on oil revenue by 2035.

The plan, city documents from October 2021 said, will gradually reduce the city’s reliance on oil revenue as local fields naturally decline in production. By 2035, the city expects the oil fields to cease production and, in between now and then, Long Beach will fund the abandonment of oil fields — using oil revenue to pay for it.

The challenge on the horizon: it’s expensive to abandon oil fields, costing at least $81 million and up to $146 million, Long Beach said.

Many community groups have lobbied Los Angeles to stop oil drilling, citing the harm it has on communities, which is disproportionately felt in working-class communities and communities of color. More than 500,000 Los Angeles County residents live within a half-mile of an active oil well.

“They have waited for generations for actions,” Council President Paul Krekorian said at an energy committee meeting. “They have waited for something to be done by the city to relieve their health concerns.”

Krekorian responded to concerns over a potential loss of jobs and an increase in gas prices. He said less than 1% of crude oil processed in Southern California refineries actually comes from wells in Los Angeles, and the loss of oil drilling will not impact gas prices locally. On jobs, Krekorian said he believes the era of oil and gas is ending regardless.

The committee held off on voting on a separate item that would have recommended placing an oil extraction tax before voters on a future ballot.

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