2023 Impact Report

The Road to Environmental & Climate Justice

Eliminate Toxic Neighborhood Oil Drilling


Liberty Hill’s partners in the Stand-L.A. coalition have been organizing for years to prevent and reduce environmental hazards in neighborhoods throughout L.A. Together, we’ve already moved mountains by securing a ban on urban oil drilling in both LA City and County.

Our Environmental Justice efforts are gaining traction across the country as a model for how large municipalities can tackle even larger challenges.

Now the fight to ensure that we phase out existing oil well operations is on the horizon.

Big oil interests are already gearing up to push back against the progress we’ve made locally. And our partners are laser-focused on reducing the lengthy 20-year proposed timeframe for the phaseout—which would continue to put local communities and the environment at risk.

At times their battle seems Sisyphean. As soon as new health and safety ordinances such as buffer zones are passed, oil companies spend millions fighting their implementation, forcing our partners to invest time and resources defending their victories, rather than building on them. But even in the face of intense opposition, they’ve stayed the course. They continue to mobilize their frontline community members, lobbying for change and ensuring elected officials recognize the names and faces of the real people impacted by their policy decisions.

This year, more than 50 STAND-L.A. community members and advocates organized a lobbying day at City Hall to advocate for a swift and equitable phase out of neighborhood oil drilling. Representatives from 13 council offices met with STAND members to discuss the need for speedy implementation of the phaseout ordinance, as well as the importance of ensuring health protections that prioritize frontline communities.

The fight to protect the health and future of Los Angeles continues. We must heed this moment and rise to the challenges ahead. If we come together, broaden our base, and mobilize effectively, we can institute policies that will make Los Angeles a cleaner, healthier place for all of its residents.

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Our next step is ensuring the City and County follow through on their commitment. Passing laws is one thing, but implementation is also a battle. We’re advocating for the City to enact a strong policy requiring full clean-up of these sites, once they are shut down, to ensure that communities harmed for decades by oil drilling have an important voice in ensuring that whatever land use comes next benefits them.
Maro Kakoussian
Director of Climate & Health Programs, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles