‘Zero for Pollution’ ‘Surrounded by oil refineries in this neighborhood, residents clash with health issues

Magali Sánchez-Adal, a resident of Wilmington for more than two decades, has struggled with asthma all her life. She says the health issue comes from oil and gas drilling.

Emma Newberger | CNBC

Los Angeles, Caliph. – Get out of a coffee shop near Interstate 110 in the Los Angeles Wilmington neighborhood, and you’ll immediately smell bad.

Magali Sánchez-Hall, who has lived here for more than two decades, is used to smelling rotten eggs from hundreds of oil wells in the area. She and her neighbor chronic chronic coughs, skin rashes and cancer tests, and asthma that affects her family, which is only 1,500 feet from the filter factory.

“People think it’s normal to have cancer or asthma, or they blame genetics,” he said. We often don’t think about where we live – the chemicals we breathe are the cause.

Wilmington, a major working group and a Latino immigrant community of more than 50,000 people, reported some of the highest rates of asthma and cancer in the state for a better environment for nonprofits. It is surrounded by six oil refineries and is divided into several highways and the ports of LA and Long Beach.

California, the seventh-largest oil producer in the United States, has no rules or standards for how long it will take to reach communities. For many California people, especially black and brown residents, the smell of acid, the noise of oil production and waste is part of the environment.

As you walk around Wilmington, pumps can be seen in public parks near the school playground and outside windows. At night, the sky burns orange with a filter.

Oil exploration in the 1920s led to significant population growth in the area. People bought houses near petrol stations and refineries, where they employed thousands of residents. According to Capitol Matrix Consulting, the industry employs about 37,000 people in LA County.

Fuel tanks burst between homes in Wilmington, Los Angeles.

Emma Newberger | CNBC

More than 2 million Californians live within 2,500 feet of workers’ oil and gas wells, and another 5 million — 14% of the state’s population — within 1 mile, according to a non-profit fractional analysis.

Residents of LA County, where the English oil field is located, are particularly vulnerable. The 1,000-hectare site is one of the largest urban gas stations in the country and is owned and controlled by Centenary Peak Resources. More than half a million people live within a quarter of a mile of active wells that emit dangerous air pollutants such as gasoline, hydrogen sulfide, trace elements, and formaldehyde.

Sentinel Peak did not respond to comments.

Sánchez-Hall did not understand the relationship between the nearby filter factories and the health issues in the community until she left. She graduated from college and earned a master’s degree from UCLA, where she studied local law and is now an advocate for fresh air and energy in the area.

“Wilmington has zero ground for pollution,” said Sánchez-Hall. Now I understand why people around me die of cancer. We are not abandoning people. Most of us have a laid back attitude when it comes to painting a picture about ourselves.

There is no retention zone between excavations and people

Studies show that people who live near oil and gas fields are more likely to be exposed to harmful contaminants and to a higher risk of prenatal, asthma, respiratory disease and cancer.

Living near oil wells is associated with decreased lung function and shortness of breath, and in some cases respiratory damage can be compared to exposure to daily smoke or living near highways.

Another study, published in the journal Environmental Health Views, analyzed nearly 3 million births of women living in at least one oil or gas well in California at 6.2 miles. The authors point out that living near those wells during pregnancy increases the risk of low birth weight babies.

Environmental advocacy groups California Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for a 2,500-foot buffer zone between fossil fuels and homes and schools. A draft law prohibiting voting and abstention by the State Committee failed this year.

Other oil-producing states, including Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Texas, have already implemented a common reserve zone between property and wells.

A.D. In 2019, Newcom ordered regulators to study such health and safety regulations, but did not meet the December 2020 deadline. State oil regulators have missed a more recent deadline in the spring to release new regulations to protect the health and safety of people living near drilling rigs. The California Geological Energy Management Department, which oversees the state’s fossil fuels industry, has not yet set a new timetable for regulation.

Meanwhile, the governor has approved approximately 9,014 oil and gas licenses since 2019.

Holly Kretzman, a lawyer at the Center for Biological Diversity, recently accused the state of “unnecessarily approving thousands of excavations and drilling projects.” Location review.

“Security is very low,” says Cretzman. The fact that our state continues to be delayed is disappointing and completely unacceptable.

Josiah Edwards, 21, grew up near the largest oil refinery in the West Coast. “Oil drills and refineries have always been the background of my life,” he said.

Emma Newberger | CNBC

The Western Petroleum Association and the Regional Construction and Construction Traders Council objected to the proposed zoning, arguing that it would hurt workers and increase fuel costs.

“One-on-one approach to such an issue is not a good public policy,” said WSPA spokesman Kevin Slagel. Retrieving data that is not based on a region can have a significant impact on the distance to communities, jobs, and the state’s energy capacity and reliability.

Environmentalists have called for an immediate ban on all new oil and gas licenses in those zones.

Earlier this year, the governor ordered state agencies to suspend new fear licenses by 2024 and consider oil production levels by 2045. The announcement also showed a change in position in Newsom, which previously said it had no executive power to block Frecos. According to the State Department of Conservation, oil production in California is only 2%.

Newcom’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Newcomer Jerry Brown, who was in power between 2011 and 2018, approved 21,397 new oil wells. According to state data from the Center for Biological Diversity, more than three-quarters of new wells in the Brown administration are in low-income communities and color communities.

‘I could have lived a better life’

Growing up, 21-year-old Josiah Edwards grew up with asthma and his family members at the Marton Petroleum Corporation near Los Angeles and the West Coast’s largest oil refinery. In the release of nearby refineries.

“Oil drills and refineries have always been the background of my life,” says Edwards, a volunteer with the advocacy group for the Sunrise Movement in Los Angeles.

Edwards recalls that he discovered bloody noses as a child and came to associate it with filter contamination. Studies have shown that exposure to pollutants contributes to the development of asthma in childhood, and will it be different when life grows elsewhere?

Edwards: “He annoys me and annoys me. I have a better life with better health. ” Although I am still angry, I have high hopes for what will happen. There is the potential for change.

Marathon spokesman Jamal Kiher said the company in Carson has invested in air pollution control equipment and has reduced pollution emissions by 35% over the past decade. He has invested $ 25 million in installing air conditioning systems around the facilities, and is making those results available to the public.

The Wilmington Athletics Complex is located next to the fuel depot.

Emma Newberger | CNBC

Extraction of local oil and gas

Some parts of the region have taken matters into their own hands.

The city of Kuverver, LA County, has ordered a five-year ban on oil and gas production in one of England’s most coveted oil fields. It also requires that all wells be plugged in during this time.

Ventura County, northwest of LA, has a 1,500-foot storage zone between oil wells and schools and wells and homes.

And LA County supervisors voted unanimously earlier this month to end oil and gas drilling and block new drilling rigs in unorganized areas. The district is ready to determine the fastest way to legally close the wells before setting a timetable.

James Ropper, a spokesman for the Department of Safety at Calgim’s sub-agency, said the department “is working hard to develop a science-based health and safety code to protect communities and workers from the effects of oil spills.” »

“This is a complex set of rules that are beyond the scope of our previous control,” Ropper said. It involves close collaboration with other government agencies and an independent public health professional panel to in-depth analysis of related science and engineering practices.

According to a recent study, the city may be one of the first major cities in the United States to avoid fossil fuels. Technologies such as solar farms, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles make the transition while reducing harmful air pollution in the most vulnerable communities.

“There are local authorities who are taking this issue seriously,” says Cretzman. But the fires, droughts, and heat waves in California are a reminder that we need to take decisive action against fossil fuels.


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