Culver City took a stand towards independence from the oil industry late in the evening of October 26, when the council voted unanimously in support of the Oil Drilling Subcommittee, consisting of Vice-Mayor Alex Fisch and Councilmember Meghan Sahli-Wells recommendations, to phase out oil drilling, properly cap and remediate the site and develop a plan to enact a just transition for workers within five years.
“We’re phasing out oil drilling in the Culver City portion of the Inglewood oil field, which happens to be the largest urban oil field in the United States,” said Culver City Councilmember Meghan Sahli-Wells, Elected Officials to Protect California Co-Chair. “Our unanimous vote let other communities across the state know it’s possible to phase out oil fields. We don’t have to be chained to the past, we can and should look to the future now by phasing out oil drilling. I hope Governor Gavin Newsom took note. The state should find avenues to help municipalities that depend on revenue from the oil companies become free from that dependency.”
Public testimony began around 10:30 pm and the final vote came around 11:45 pm.
Even though industry speakers outnumber environmental advocates by 2:1, the council voted unanimously. That’s because their decision didn’t happen overnight. Over many years and numerous meetings Culver City residents voiced their opinions overwhelmingly in favor of a just transition away from fossil fuels and towards clean, renewable energy.
“Communities across our state are suffering. We can’t move forward with fossil fuels. We must phase them out. We must create safety buffer areas around wells, and invest in the communities that have been hit the hardest by climate pollution. We must accelerate our transition to a 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035,” said Culver City Councilmember Meghan Sahli-Wells, Elected Officials to Protect California Co-Chair. “The good news is that it’s possible. We’ve shown how it can be done in Culver City. We’re already running on 100 percent renewable energy with the Clean Power Alliance and we’re creating good union jobs to power our community. Over 30 cities, plus the county of Los Angeles and Ventura County are engaged in the process. We’re creating a city that is less dependent on fossil fuels with our progressive transportation, housing, energy, waste, and water policies. We’re doing it in Culver City and we can do it in the rest of the state, in fact, we must.”
Both Councilmembers Daniel Lee and Thomas Smalls asked the council and staff to seriously consider calling for the end of oil and gas production in 2021, as recommended by Culver City’s Capital Investment Amortization Study as the first step in the approximate five year process.
Twelve years of work went into the Culver City success and was highlighted in a webinar cohosted by Sierra Club and The Climate Center.
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July 13, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Alexander Cornell du Houx, President of Elected Officials to Protect California Cell: 207.319.4511