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OPNC Explores Oil Drilling Set Backs

The Olympic Park Neighborhood Council heard a presentation from STAND LA regarding oil drilling in close proximity to houses at our August 6, 2018 meeting. Below is the follow up information provided by Nicole Wong, Director of Policy and Organizing, Redeemer Community Partnership.

1. Why 2500′?

As mentioned in my presentation last night, we landed on 2500′ based on the existing scientific literature that found health and exposure risks from oil and gas facilities to local residents and based on the fact that LA has a far greater magnitude of risk due to population density compared to other jurisdictions in the US that have already enacted a setback ordinance.

This Literature Review Report outlining these findings. At the end of the document a table that shows the distances where impacts were determined.

2. Type of drilling in LA – horizontal, would setback matter?

What this proposed ordinance would address is land use on the surface of the earth. That is where the exposure and risks are to adjacent community members. Regardless of the type of techniques used underground, the above surface exposures from chemical use, such as acidization, gravel packing, and the risk of explosions is what poses a public health concern.

Here are 2 studies that explain further about the chemical use threats from OG operations:

Abdullah et al (2016) Toxicity of acidization fluids used in California oil exploration.

Stringfellow et al (2017) Comparison of chemical-use between hydraulic fracturing, acidizing, and routine oil and gas development.

3. Economic Impact: Jobs – how many jobs would a 2500 ft setback proposal effect

Research by Economic Researchers at UCLA determined that approximately 250 jobs would be impacted by this ordinance. The oil industry actually does not hire very many full time employees for extraction work, instead they use a lot of contractors. It is also worth noting that these jobs are very dangerous and also expose workers to the same chemicals that can harm nearby residents. Our communities should not have to choose between jobs and health.

Here is a report: “Transitioning to a Greener Los Angeles Report: The Potential for Re-purposing Oil and Gas Drilling Sites”

4. Legality of setback – takings and vested rights

STAND-LA consulted with a CA land-use legal firm on the proposed ordinance. We are also currently crafting a memo to summarize proposed ordinance that would include language explaining the questions on takings and vested rights. We would be happy to share that once it is complete.

In the meantime, Here is a memo that outlines the precedence the City of LA had used in the past around Beverly Hills Oil Fields and amortization. Memo Precedent Justifying Legal Setback

Additional resources for your reference:

Shamasunder, et al (2018). Community-Based Health and Exposure Study around Urban Oil Developments in South Los Angeles.

Danger Next Door. Center for Biological Diversity. Report on chemical use in Los Angeles at Oil and Gas Facilities

California Council on Science and Technology is a nonpartisan, impartial, not-for-profit org established in 1988 by assembly concurrent resolution to provide objective advice from California’s best scientists and research institutions on policy issues involving science. Their SB4 Report, Chapter 6 is titled “Potential Impacts of Well Stimulation on Human Heath in CA”

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