No Drilling Where We’re Living with Martha Arguello

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Martha Arguello of Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles discusses with EcoJustice Radio host Jessica Aldridge neighborhood oil drilling, the call for a 2,500 ft. health and safety buffer, and how community mobilization is addressing the climate emergency and ensuring public health and environmental protection. Martha leads the coalition Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling in Los Angeles. They work in a statewide coalition dedicated to buffers as well called VISION: Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods.

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With California being one of the largest oil-producing states in the USA, community based solutions and industry accountability is vital to protecting the most vulnerable and building resilience. In Los Angeles, there are 759 active oil wells less than 1,500 feet from homes, schools, churches, and hospitals; these being predominantly in low-income and communities of color who face disproportionate health and safety impacts from their frontline exposure.

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Martha Dina Arguello talks about oil impacts on health and the need for a 2500 foot buffer between oil drilling and people.

Los Angeles, California is an oil town, It is one of the largest oil-producing states in the USA. In the County of LA, there exists the largest urban oil field in the United States. Unbeknownst to many, the neighborhoods of Los Angeles are dotted with over a 1,000 active oil wells some you can see, others hidden inside fake building facades, even peppered along busy thoroughfares, next to your favorite restaurant.

One study warns that, “Statewide, 2,425 oil and gas wells are deserted and unplugged (meaning they are uncapped – they are not closed off – and could very well be leaking toxins into the neighborhood). More than half (over 1,200) of these sites sit in Los Angeles County, mostly between Dodger Stadium and Koreatown, a very densely populated area of LA.

Over five million Californians live less than a mile from an active oil well—with low-income communities and communities of color facing disproportionate health and safety impacts. In the City of Los Angeles there are over 1,000 active oil wells, 759 of those are located less than 1,500 feet from homes, schools, churches, and hospitals. These frontline communities have direct exposure to the impacts of oil and gas drilling, later we will dive further into the health impacts and how approving a 2,500 ft. buffer is key to ensuring public health and safety.

On this show, Martha Arguello speaks to the issues around neighborhood oil drilling and how community based solutions and mobilization is addressing climate disruption, protecting our most vulnerable communities, and building resilience.

Martha Arguello is the Executive Director with Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles. For the past 32 years, she has served in the non-profit sector as an advocate, community organizer, and coalition builder. She joined PSR-LA in 1998 to launch the environmental health programs, and became Executive Director in November 2007. She is committed to making the credible voice of physicians a powerful instrument for transforming California and our planet into a more peaceful and healthy place.

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Hosted by Jessica Aldridge from Adventures in Waste
Engineer: Blake Lampkin
Executive Producer: Jack Eidt
Show Created by Mark and JP Morris
Music: Javier Kadry
Episode 71

Photo courtesy of STAND-LA

Stop Neighborhood Drilling, Martha Arguello

Updated 19 September 2020

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About Jack Eidt

Novelist, urban theorist and designer, and environmental journalist, Jack Eidt careens down human-nature's all consuming one-way highway to its inevitable conclusion -- Wilder Utopia. He co-founded Wild Heritage Partners, based out of Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow him on Twitter @WilderUtopia and @JackEidt