Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles and The City Project present the Policy Report Keeping the Baldwin Hills Clean and Green for Generations to Come.
The purpose of this Policy Report is to engage, educate and empower the community as well as public officials to protect human health and the environment in the Baldwin Hills community, park and oil field through various means. This information is relevant, among other reasons, in the preparation of the following studies, plans and reviews:
(1) An equity analysis and plan for the Baldwin Hills oil field operations and zoning regulations under federal and state laws, including civil rights laws;
(2) The health survey of the Baldwin Hills by the County;
(3) The implementation plan for the oil field regulations;
(4) The study of the oil field regulations approved by the Board of Supervisors in August 2009;
(5) A proper review in an environmental impact report under civil rights and Environmental Justice laws;
(6) Compliance review by state officials to ensure the County as a recipient of public funds is complying with state and federal civil rights and Environmental Justice laws in the Baldwin Hills, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its regulations, California Government Code 11135 and its regulations, and the California Environmental Quality Act; and
(7) Compliance review by federal officials to ensure the County as a recipient of federal funds is complying with federal civil rights and Environmental Justice laws in the Baldwin Hills.
Each study, plan or review needs to include the following elements:
- A clear description of what is planned;
- An analysis of the impact on all populations, including minority and low income populations;
- An analysis of available alternatives;
- The documented inclusion of minority and low income populations in the study and decision-making process; and
- An implementation plan to address any concerns identified in the equity analysis.
The County of Los Angeles is allowing the Texas oil company Plains Exploration & Production Company (“PXP”) to drill up to 600 oil wells in the Baldwin Hills in the next 20 years, an average of 30 wells per year. The oil company drilled an average of only 10 wells per year over the past 20 to 25 years. Thirty wells per year is about triple the drilling rate for the past 20 to 25 years before 2005, when PXP dramatically ramped up its drilling operations and surrounding communities experienced more problems.
The current environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico and subsequent finger pointing, including among regulators, demonstrate the need for the people to be vigilant in protecting themselves in the face of the Siren call of oil company profits.Oil drilling in the Gulf is based on advanced new technology, but the oil spill requires relying on “some equivalent of a fire drill with paper towels and buckets for cleanup.” There need to be proper protections for human health, the environment, and equal justice in the Baldwin Hills.
The oil field is located in the one of the nation’s largest and most populous metropolitan areas, in the historic heart of African American Los Angeles. The area is the identified home of Baldwin Hills Park, which when completed will be the largest urban park created in the United States in over a century and the greatest public works project in the history of a community that has long suffered from environmental degradation and discrimination.
The following defects, if corrected, would result in meaningful reforms to benefit the health, economic vitality, environment, and quality of life for the people in the Baldwin Hills:
- The County allowed too many new wells to be drilled in the next 20 years.
- The County did not fully disclose foreseeable effects on human health.
- The County improperly included emissions from prior drilling projects in the air quality baseline.
- The County failed to adequately consider the risk of major oil spills.
- In “mitigating” the noise impacts of drilling, the County allows a noise increase in residential areas already subjected to excessive noise.
- The County did not evaluate the oil drilling regulations for consistency with the 2002 Baldwin Hills Park Master Plan.
- The County failed to adequately analyze the social, economic and Environmental Justice effects and physical changes caused by the project.
- The County abdicated its obligation to consider greenhouse gas emissions.
- The County failed to include feasible mitigation measures that would help protect surrounding residents.
- The regulations unlawfully deferred the implementation of enforceable mitigation.
- The County failed to describe or consider the actual project.
- The County failed to consider available alternatives.
These matters are fully covered in the Petitioners’ Briefs in the Baldwin Hills litigation, and in the Policy Report.
The Policy Report Keeping the Baldwin Hills Clean and Green for Generations to Come is available by clicking here.
An alliance of community advocates seek to keep the Baldwin Hills clean and green for generations to come in and out of court, including Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles represented by The City Project, the City of Culver City, Community Health Councils, Natural Resources Defense Council, Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community, and the Greater Baldwin Hills Alliance.