On Friday, November 6, three environmental organizations filed suit against the City of Los Angeles in California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles. The three groups, Youth for Environmental Justice, the Center for Biological Diversity and the South Central Youth Leadership Coalition, allege that the “City of Los Angeles has for years employed a pattern or practice of rubber stamping oil-drilling applications in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).” Verified Complaint and Petition for Writ of Mandate, at 2. By categorically exempting oil-drilling projects from CEQA, the Complaint states that L.A. has permitted a disproportionately high number of drilling operations in low-income communities and neighborhoods where people of color reside. According to the environmental groups, this is a racially discriminatory practice because the City of L.A. exhibits a pattern of “developing and approving weaker conditions for drill sites in communities where a vast majority of the residents identify as Latino and black.” Id. at 26.
The Complaint focuses especially on the risks of drilling operations on children. “Because they breathe at a higher rate, and drink more water and consume more food in proportion to their body size, children receive higher doses of toxins and contaminants than adults.” Id. at 12-13. Further, in contrast to the public outcry over fracking, the environmental groups note that the emissions from oil and gas development in L.A. are associated with “traditional drilling,” not necessarily hydraulic fracturing. The Complaint also addresses the alleged risks of acidizing and gravel packing techniques, though.
Continue Reading Environmental Justice Lawsuit Accuses L.A. of Discriminatory Oil Permitting