Demand Performance of LA City Council Ordered Inspections of City Oil Drill Sites

Demand Performance of LA City Council Ordered Inspections of City Oil Drill Sites

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Los Angeles City Council Ordered Inspections of Oil Drill Sites started this petition to Los Angeles City Council

On 9/7/18, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously (CF 18-0203) to establish by ordinance a City-wide “Annual Oil Well and Facilities Compliance Inspection Program” and directed the City Petroleum Administrator to “Initiate, until the Compliance Inspection Program is formalized, preliminary review of sites for general compliance.” Almost one year later, no inspections have been conducted, none are planned, and the City is talking about not doing them until an ordinance might be passed.

Council set criteria to prioritize which drill sites should be inspected first in the interim until an ordinance is passed. By these criteria the Wilmington Drill Site in CD 15 should be first, the Murphy Drill Site in CD 10 should be second, the 14th Place Drill Site in CD 14 should be third.

When CF 18-0203 was considered by the Energy, Environmental Justice and Climate Change Committee of City Council on 8/21/18, Committee Chair Woman Nury Martinez (CD 6) said, "We owe it to the most vulnerable communities to get out there ASAP so we don't continue to wait on bureaucracy to drag its feet."

One year later, there have been no interim inspections of any drill sites, none are planned, and the City is talking about just waiting until an ordinance is passed, which might take a year or longer or may never happen.

Please sign this petition to urge all Los Angeles City Council Members to take immediate action to make the interim inspections ordered by Council commence immediately. 

To sign, please click the "Sign This Petition" link is up in the top right corner of this page.

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What follows below is the petition letter that will be emailed to every Los Angeles City Council Member, their Chiefs of Staff, and their Media/Communications Deputies:

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To the Los Angeles City Council, Council Members, and their top staff,

It is time for the City to commence the inspections of oil drill sites that Council ordered on 9/7/18, which should have begun in October 2018.

Oil Drill Sites in Los Angeles with 10 to over 100 wells date back to the 1950s, and in a couple of Council Districts there are individual oil wells that pre-date WWII. Since 1945, the City has repeatedly promised that there would be strict regulation of the industry and strict enforcement of compliance with City Code and Zoning Administrator-assigned conditions of operation. But the City has never had a compliance inspection requirement for oil wells or drill sites in the City, though it has inspection requirements for billboards, auto wrecking yards, and cargo container storage yards, among other things that do not have as great a potential environmental or safety impact as oil wells and drill sites.

On 9/7/18, City Council unanimously passed CF 18-0203, which, first in a sequence of steps, asked the City Attorney to draft an ordinance that would require an annual inspection of all oil well sites in the City. The City Attorney has not returned a draft ordinance to Council. Instead, no action was taken until May 2019, when an external consultant was contracted to perform a wide ranging study over 6-to-12 months that could as easily make an inspection ordinance politically impossible as it might lead to an ordinance.

The Council vote on 9/7/18 also directed the Petroleum Administrator to: "Initiate, until the Compliance Inspection Program is formalized, preliminary review of sites for general compliance, with consideration of: i. The CalEnviro Screen ii. Clean Up Green Up Communities iii. Proximity to residential and sensitive uses to determine the priority order of sites to be reviewed."

All oil drill sites in the City have proximity to residential and sensitive uses, with differences of degree. A list of the drill sites in the City and a list of the number of individual wells in each Council District are presented in the Petroleum Administrators 5/23/18 report calling for an inspection ordinance.

Three active drill sites - Wilmington, Murphy in West Adams , and 14th Place in Downtown - are in the highest rated red zones listed in California EPA's CalEnviro Screen mapping system; the other drill sites in the City are in lower ranked orange to green zones.

Only the Wilmington Drill Site is in a Clean Up Green Up community as designated by City ordinance in 2016.

Thus the large Wilmington Drill Site (opened in 2006 with pre-approval for 540 wells) is the highest priority site for inspections according to Council's orders given on 9/7/18. The Murphy Drill Site in West Adams is surrounded by a greater density of residences and other sensitive uses than the 14th Place Drill Site in Downtown, so Murphy is the second highest priority site for inspections and 14th Place is third.

These sites and the other drill sites, according to order of prioritization, in Council District (CD) 15, CD 5, CD 13, CD 14, and CD 10 should have interim inspections commenced immediately, as Council ordered on 9/7/18.

The top ranked drill sites by Council's orders have especially strong need for City compliance inspections. The City’s failure to commence these inspections should greatly concern the communities and Council offices in each locality.

Just as importantly, the interim inspections until an ordinance is enacted must be paid for by the City. Only after an ordinance is passed will there be fee recovery from the oil companies to pay for the inspections. The need for fee recovery will be an added incentive for the City to enact an ordinance.

Last, but not least, commencing the interim inspections that Council ordered on 9/7/18 is practically the only way to restore some public confidence in the credibility of Council's promise that an inspection ordinance will be enacted.

When the oil well site inspection motion was discussed in the Energy, Environmental Justice and Climate Change Committee of City Council on 8/21/18, Committee Chair Woman Nury Martinez (CD 6) said, "We owe it to the most vulnerable communities to get out there ASAP so we don't continue to wait on bureaucracy to drag its feet."

Bureaucracy has dragged its feet and City Council has not followed up after its vote on 9/7/18. The time to follow-up and commence interim inspections is now.

Sincerely,

[signatories of the petition]

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