A New Vision for a South LA Oil Drilling Site

The Los Ange­les Neigh­bor­hood Land Trust plans to rede­vel­op a 1.86-acre for­mer oil drilling site in South Los Ange­les into a com­plex with afford­able hous­ing, a com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter, and a park. The non­prof­it, pur­chased the lot, is look­ing for to bring that vision to fruition, reports Dorany Pine­da in the Los Ange­les Times.

“The sale marks a new chap­ter in a per­sis­tent and com­mu­ni­ty-led fight against the oil drilling site, which res­i­dents argued for was noisy and spewed foul odors. It also comes at a of grow­ing con­cerns about the risks and inequities of urban drilling in neigh­bor­hoods,” Pine­da writes.

Cal­i­for­nia is lit­tered with both active and defunct oil wells, many in res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hoods, pos­ing health risks to the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties. In Decem­ber of 2022, Los Ange­les it would phase out active drilling and ban new wells, set­ting the stage for a land­scape dot­ted with non- for­mer drilling sites. “Tori Kjer, direc­tor of the L.A. Neigh­bor­hood Land Trust, believes it is crit­i­cal that these sites are trans­formed into uses that com­mu­ni­ties his­tor­i­cal­ly affect­ed by oil drilling.”

The project is a long way from real­i­ty, but the com­mu­ni­ty has already suc­cess­ful­ly fought to shut down the drilling site—“situated clos­er to than any city drilling facility”—and to have the wells capped and equip­ment removed. Now, a $10 mil­lion state grant is help­ing fund the cre­ation of a vision for the future of the site.

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