The Baldwin Hills community health assessment is complete

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has completed the final component of the Baldwin Hills Community Health Assessment, which consisted of a health survey of the residents surrounding the oil field. One thousand individuals were interviewed and self-reported illnesses, including asthma and other health concerns. The findings were compared to information for Los Angeles County residents as a whole.

The report can be found here.

Representatives from the Department of Public Health discussed the findings of the health survey at the July Meeting of the Baldwin Hills Community Advisory Panel. Click here to see their presentation.

The Department of Public Health previously presented the findings from the first phase of their Community Health Assessment in February 2011. The initial phase analyzed cancer rates, and mortality, low-birth weight and birth defect data for the communities surrounding the oil field.  The report was peer reviewed by Professor Vickie Mays of the UCLA Center on Minority Health Disparities, Dr. Stephen Thacker,  Director, Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services at the Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Carlos Castillo-Salgado, an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University.

To see a PowerPoint Presentation on Phase 1 of the community health assessment click here.

To see the Phase 1 report click here.

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After over two years of critical and collaborative discussions between petitioners including the City of Culver City, Concerned Citizens of South Los Angeles, the Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community, and Community Health Councils, and the oil field operator, Plains Exploration and Production Co., all parties have agreed to 15 additional mitigations that when combined with the existing provisions of the Baldwin Hills Community Standards District (CSD), provide a strong framework for safeguarding the health, safety and security of the surrounding community. All parties have negotiated in good faith a settlement containing important improvements to the CSD that could not have been compelled by a court order resulting from the current litigation challenging the County’s Environmental Impact Report and the CSD. The completion of this settlement expedites the resolution of significant community concerns and allows the focus of this process to shift to constructive dialogue, implementation, monitoring and establishment of a more effective working relationship between the parties.

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

A contentious legal battle over oil drilling in the Baldwin Hills has been settled, resulting in a reduction in the number of oil wells in the area, tighter restrictions on new wells and a series of measures to protect air quality, reduce noise and beautify the landscape.

The settlement, approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on July 5th, will be implemented immediately.

“This settlement is the victory area residents and I have sought after working together for nearly five years,” said supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

“Those who live near the oil field will see fewer wells, hear less noise from drilling and have in place stronger air quality protections than exist today. I’m confident this set of reforms is far more thorough than what could have been achieved through a contentious and protracted court battle,” he said.

Covering 1,100 acres, the so-called Inglewood Oil Field is not in the city of Inglewood, but surrounded by Culver City and Los Angeles communities including Baldwin Hills, View Park, Windsor Hills and Ladera Heights. Its name is derived from its position on the Inglewood fault.

Oil drilling at the site dates from 1924, long before sprawling residential communities were built around its perimeter. Over the decades, as the number of homes surrounding the site increased, so too did the concerns of residents.

In 2008 four lawsuits challenged the County’s set of environmental regulations of the oil field and its operator, Plains Exploration and Production Co. The plaintiffs were the City of Culver City, Concerned Citizens of South Los Angeles, the Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community and Community Health Councils, Inc.

Approval of the settlement by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors completed the acceptance of the agreement by all parties.

Key elements of the settlement include:

  • Reducing the total number of oil wells
  • Increased monitoring of air quality
  • More stringent noise limits
  • Improved landscaping
  • Mandatory, recurring health and environmental justice assessments

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas began working with area residents and advocates to address  oil field concerns in 2007, when he was a State Senator; members of the Empowerment Congress, a grassroots governing partnership founded by the Supervisor in 1992, brought the issue to his attention.

Two years ago, Ridley-Thomas sought assistance from then-Attorney General Jerry Brown to help mediate the disputing parties in the law suits. Brown assigned two attorneys to the task, who worked with his office to find common ground among the parties. When Kamala Harris was inaugurated attorney general last year, she continued to uphold mediating the Inglewood oil field dispute as a top priority.

“The arrival of the Attorney General’s experts marked a turning point,” said Ridley-Thomas, “they brought cool heads to a heated environment and in doing so guided us all to a solution that gives all sides more than we would have gotten from a court battle.”

 

 

Community Health Assessment – Phase 1

The Community Update on the Inglewood Oil Field on April 25, 2011 at the Junior Blind of America Auditorium provided an opportunity for ongoing candid dialogue regarding drilling and oil field operations at the Inglewood Oil Field.

The Department of Public Health presented the findings from the first phase of their Community Health Assessment of the communities surrounding the oil field. This report was peer reviewed by Professor Vickie Mays of the UCLA Center on Minority Health Disparities, Dr. Stephen Thacker,  Director, Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology and Laboratory Services at the Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Carlos Castillo-Salgado, an Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University.

To see a PowerPoint Presentation on DPH’s findings click here.

To see the full report click here.

 

For more information about the CSD, please contact:

Department of Regional Planning

Contact: Leon Freeman

Email: lfreeman@planning.lacounty.gov

Phone: 213-974-6453

Website: Department of Regional Planning

To report a complaint, please contact:

Plains Exploration and Production (PXP)

Ombudsperson: Lisa Paillet

Email: LPaillet@pxp.com

Phone: 800-766-4108 (24 hours a day/seven days a week)

Website: www.inglewoodoilfield.com

In addition, please also contact SCAQMD if the complaint specifically relates to smoke, dust and odors:

South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD)

Phone: 800-288-7664

Important Links:


On August 4th, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas initiated a review of the Baldwin Hills Community Standards District (CSD), the zoning ordinance which regulates oil drilling and operations in Baldwin Hills. With the goal of identifying additional enhancements to the CSD, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas hosted a Town Hall meeting to gain community feedback on October 15th at West Los Angeles College. Read about the Town Hall meeting.

Town Hall Meeting Slideshow

To watch videos from the public comment period click here

Important Documents:

Links:

 

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