The city of Los Angeles voted to ban oil drilling in what many see as a historic decision.
The L.A. Times wrote that the city council voted unanimously to suspend oil drilling in California’s biggest city, which has also been the city with the highest concentration of urban oil wells, per Grist.
Oil production was once one of the biggest industries in southern California, fueling the growth of Los Angeles in the first half of the 20th century. Although things have changed significantly since then, L.A. wells are still producing, with the total number of producing and idle wells in the city at more than 1,000.
As expected, the vote has been welcomed by environmental activists and criticized by the oil industry.
“Shutting down domestic energy production not only puts Californians out of work and reduces taxes that pay for vital services, but it makes us more dependent on imported foreign oil from Saudi Arabia and Iraq that is tankered into L.A.’s crowded port,” said the chief executive of the California Independent Petroleum Association, Rock Zierman.
California is indeed one of the biggest oil importers in the United States, with most of its oil coming from Ecuador, a fact which became the focus of a recent investigation by NBC News that found California is importing a lot of oil pumped from the Amazon in a national park previously protected but recently opened for oil drilling by the government in a bid to boost revenues.
While it is importing oil from the Amazon, California is the state with perhaps the most ambitious decarbonization targets and has been the most active in trying to achieve them. The state is closing its nuclear power plants and doubling down on wind and solar to reduce its emissions footprint.
Banning oil drilling is a logical step in this process and indeed, Governor Newsom last year set his sights on fracking, tasking the Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management (CalGEM) Division to initiate regulatory action to end the issuance of new fracking permits by January 2024.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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