Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles and The City Project today filed a lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles to protect people, homes, and parklands in the Baldwin Hills more than oil company profits. The suit challenges the County’s environmental impact report and oil drilling regulations covering the oil field adjoining the Baldwin Hills Park for failure to provide adequate health and environmental safeguards in a dense and diverse community that has long suffered from environmental degradation and discrimination. The suit filed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) challenges the urban blight caused by the oil field operations and regulations. A flurry of lawsuits has been filed, including suits by Community Health Councils, NRDC, and Culver City.
Mark Williams of Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles said, “The Baldwin Hills Park is the greatest public works project in the history of our community. This is about the future of our children, our front yard, our back yard, our homes, our schools, our lives. We want to make sure that the oil drilling regulations protect the people, and the environmental impact report provides full and fair information to let the people decide what is best for them.”
According to Zoe Rawson, a Staff Attorney with The City Project, “We are filing this suit to protect the community against the hurtful social and environmental consequences of expanding oil drilling in a densely populated urban community, and to ensure that the people have access to justice against big oil companies and the officials elected to represent them.”
The oil field regulations must ensure that the average rate of new oil wells does not exceed the average increase of wells studied in the environmental impact report. The regulations presently would permit 600 new oils wells over the next 20 years without further environmental analysis and with only ministerial permits. The EIR studied a net increase of only 453 new oil wells.
The regulations and environmental impact report fail to reflect a vision for transition of the oil field to parklands.
Concerned Citizens and The City Project have long worked with the community to protect the Baldwin Hills community, parklands and environment. They have worked with the Greater Baldwin Hills Alliance in the almost two year process to regulate the oil field and protect the people. In 2001, they helped the community stop a proposed power plant in the Baldwin Hills. Currently, Concerned Citizens and The City Project are working with other community leaders to enforce a 2004 Consent Decree under the Clean Water Act to fix the sewer system and stop sewer odors in the Baldwin Hills area.
Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles is a nonprofit community-based organization whose mission is to work for social justice and economic and environmental change within the South Central community.
The City Project is a California nonprofit public benefit corporation that engages, educates, and empowers people to create healthy, livable communities for all.