More than one million people live within five miles of the massive Inglewood Oil Field, the largest urban oil field in the nation, sprawled across Culver City and the historically African American neighborhood of Baldwin Hills. For decades, residents have called on local and state elected officials to strengthen health and safety protections from industrial oil operations near their homes, schools and parks. On August 13, the Culver City council directed its staff to develop a framework and timeline for the phase out of oil wells in the city’s 78-acre portion of the Inglewood Oil Field and create jobs in the process.
The plan was supported by labor unions including United Steelworkers Local 675 and the California Nurses Association. Tveen Kirkpatrick, R.N. with the California Nurses Association/ National Nurses United, noted, “Every day nurses across California treat children with asthma and we see firsthand the connection between environmental and public health. We are proud to stand with the communities closest to toxic operations in Culver City and call for a shutdown of the Inglewood Oil Field. California should look beyond fossils to a future where workers and communities don’t pay the price for the oil industry’s pollution with their bodies.”
Local environmental justice, labor and health advocates are urging councilmembers to seize this opportunity to model a Just Transition. They have asked the city to hold oil operators responsible for cleanup costs, and ensure that a properly trained and local unionized workforce is paid a living wage for the remediation of wells.