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Protect South Los Angeles residents from this oil drilling site

Delivery to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
Delivery to Los Angeles City Planning Director Vince Bertoni

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What’s At Stake

We have an important opportunity to end a longstanding injustice by giving South Los Angeles communities the same protections from oil drilling provided to wealthier communities for decades.

The Murphy drill site is located in South LA, on a busy street just steps from homes and schools, including high-rise housing for senior citizens, affordable housing, and a school for children with severe disabilities. 

The Murphy drill site is emblematic of the constant and nearly endless barrage of dangers that urban oil drilling poses to nearby communities. Impacted residents documented over a dozen outrageous and illegal actions at the drill site over the past year, including seven days of unpermitted acid jobs, where tanker trucks brought thousands of gallons of acid into the community and pumped it into the ground. Exposure to these acids poses the risk of long-term health impacts, including irreversible lung damage, to surrounding residents.

The City of Los Angeles’ regulatory oversight of oil drilling is plagued by racism and inequity. Systemic racism is so entrenched into the City’s regulatory oversight that even the most basic and essential regulatory rules don’t seem to apply to South LA communities. For example, drill sites in wealthier, whiter, West LA neighborhoods are enclosed. South LA drill sites are wide open, leaving neighbors to deal with constant noise, petroleum odors, and toxic fumes.

Despite big announcements from Governor Newsom and Los Angeles leaders about some initial steps to stop new urban oil drilling, there has been no concrete action to help frontline communities already devastated by oil drilling.

Tell the City it’s time to right past wrongs and demand that our city officials enforce the rules equitably and provide the same basic protections to every community.

Murphy Drill Site in South Los Angeles, California

Murphy Drill Site in South Los Angeles, California

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.