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UCLA Researchers To Lead Public Health Assessment Of Communities Surrounding Inglewood Oil Fields

INGLEWOOD (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County public health officials will conduct a health assessment and environmental justice study for the communities surrounding the Inglewood Oil Fields.

General Views of the Inglewood Oil Field
Homes stand while a pumpjack operates at the Inglewood Oil field in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2012. The Inglewood Oil Field is a steady source of domestic oil and natural gas as well as the second most productive oil field in the entire L.A. Basin. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Inglewood Oil Field, which includes 675 active wells, is the largest urban oil field in the nation. It sits next to schools, homes, hospitals, parks, and churches, and more than 1 million people live within five miles of its boundaries.

"After decades of oil drilling, the negative health impacts on nearby residents, who are disproportionately Black and Brown, must be fully examined," LA County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell said in a statement. "The oil drilling in Baldwin Hills is an issue of health equity and environmental justice that acutely impacts the Black community. The full spectrum of oil drilling-related health impacts on vulnerable communities have been neglected for far too long."

Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights, and View Park/Windsor Hills are among the most affluent Black communities in the nation, with high median education and employment levels, but residents in these areas still suffer disproportionately from the effects of patchy standards and loose regulatory controls on polluting industries, according to county public health officials. Meanwhile, oil production sites at other facilities, such as those in Beverly Hills, are subject to stricter design and mitigation measures.

The assessment will be led by a research team from UCLA, with protocols and materials developed in conjunction with LA County Public Health and reviewed by a community advisory board.

The move comes after the Culver City Council voted to phase out oil production and require the cleanup of Inglewood Oil Field well sites within its borders. Culver City is home to 10% of the Inglewood Oil Field, and the ordinance requires that these wells will be properly plugged and abandoned, and the well sites and surrounding area be fully remediated by July 28, 2026.

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