The Los Angeles County Public Health Department and UCLA researchers have teamed up to carry out a second health assessment and environmental justice study for the communities surrounding the Inglewood Oil Field, it was announced Monday.
"The communities surrounding the Inglewood Oil Field, including Baldwin Hills, Ladera Heights, and View Park/Windsor Hills, are among the most affluent Black communities in America, with high median education and employment levels. Nevertheless, residents in these predominantly Black communities suffer disproportionately from the effects of disparate standards and lax regulatory controls on polluting industries," said Public Health in a statement.
The research teams will develop and implement a two-pronged assessment taking into account residential distances from the oil fields to better understand the impact of oil field operations on community health.
"Health and safety mitigation measures at existing oil production sites vary, with some facilities, such as those in Beverly Hills, being subject to stricter design and mitigation measures imposed by state and local regulatory agencies. However, many others have not been required to conduct health risk assessments or other environmental studies," the statement said.
Over one million people live within five miles of the boundaries surrounding the Inglewood Oil Field, considered the largest urban oil field in the nation, most of whom are Black and Latino, according to the LA County Public Health Department.
"After decades of oil drilling, the negative health impacts on nearby residents, who are disproportionately Black and Brown, must be fully examined, and I applaud this important partnership between LA County Department of Public Health and UCLA," said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, whose district includes the communities of Baldwin Hills, View Park/Windsor Hills, Ladera Heights, and Culver City.
“The oil drilling in Baldwin Hills is an issue of health equity and environmental justice that acutely impacts the Black community," Mitchell continued. "The full spectrum of oil drilling-related health impacts on vulnerable communities have been neglected for far too long. I look forward to seeing the results of this study and continuing to improve the health and livability of the neighborhoods in my district."
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There are approximately 675 active wells in in the Inglewood Oil Field, which is near schools, homes, hospitals, parks, and churches.
"This complex assessment and analysis requires a very specific expertise, which the UCLA team brings to the table,” said LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “Public Health looks forward to sharing this information to inform efforts to reduce negative health outcomes for the residents in these nearby communities, including higher rates of infant mortality, asthma and cancer."
The study is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete, after which, will be made available to the public. For additional information, click here.