The Los Angeles City Council on Friday unanimously approved a ban on oil and gas drilling within the city limits, finalizing steps toward a ban that were first made at the beginning of the year.
Council members approved 12-0 a resolution enacting an immediate ban on all new oil and drilling. The city will also decommission existing oil wells and operations within 20 years, according to a fact sheet.
Before the vote, City Council President Paul Krekorian called the city’s forthcoming ban a “watershed moment” for climate action.
“Part of [the city’s] economic growth was because of the oil and gas industry at the beginning of the Twentieth Century,” Krekorian said. “But the result of that incredible growth contaminated countless parts of this city, countless neighborhoods.”
Oil drilling has helped the U.S. become energy independent but contributes to global warming and air pollution. Angelenos who live near oil production operations have raised various health concerns related to air pollution for years.
California has enacted laws to create buffers between schools, neighborhoods and oil wells, but Krekorian said Friday those were only a temporary solution.
“The time has come — and today is that time, today is that day — when we end oil and gas production,” he said.
Los Angeles has 26 oil and gas fields and more than 5,000 oil and gas wells, located in nearly all parts of the city.
The City Council voted to draft a resolution in January, following in the footsteps of Los Angeles County, which voted last year to phase out oil and gas drilling. The county could also shut down more than 1,600 sites within county limits.
In January, the California Independent Petroleum Association, which controls about 70 percent of the state’s oil production, warned that phasing out oil and gas drilling could cost the city billions of dollars and that thousands of jobs would be lost.
Statewide, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced steps to halt the issuance of new permits for hydraulic fracking by 2024, part of California’s goal to phase out oil extraction by 2045.
Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin on Friday credited environmental groups, activists and concerned citizens with advancing the city’s resolution to ban new oil and gas drilling.
“That’s what’s so amazing and inspiring about Los Angeles,” he said. “That’s where real change is coming from.”