Greater Baldwin Hills Alliance

The Greater Baldwin Hills Alliance is a collaborative effort of Community Health Councils, the City Project, neighborhood associations and block clubs representing more than 50,000 households. The Alliance formed after Plains Exploration & Production announced plans to expand drilling operations in the Baldwin Hills.

Background
The 1,000-acre field is the largest urban oil field in the US and is surrounded by more than one million residents in Los Angeles, Inglewood and Culver City.  It rose to national attention in January and February 2006 when uncontrolled emissions of noxious gases caused residents to flee their homes, resulting in the campaign to establish a Community Standards District.

Community Standards District
Over the course of the six hearings, hundreds of concerned community members contacted and petitioned their officials. Residents provided hours of testimony and volumes of written comments including their own CSD for the district. The LA County Board of Supervisors adopted a CSD in October 2008. 

The CSD mandates that for the first time in 84 years, data will be collected on the oil field. The operator, PXP, must install equipment to protect air quality and a new flare to reduce noise and vibration and adhere to a landscaping and screening plan.  Major sections of the original proposal were revised at the request of community members. The final plan set an annual cap of 53 wells per year for a total of 600 new wells (vs the 1,000 proposed by PXP) over 20 years. A summary of the CSD can be viewed here.

Settlement Reached, but Drilling Continues
Even after the CSD, key concerns remain unaddressed.  Community groups and individuals have filed four lawsuits against Los Angeles County since the Board certified the CSD. The lawsuits contend that health and environmental safeguards are still inadequate and a violation of the California Environmental Quality Act.

In July 2011, an agreement was reached by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The Settlement Agreement strengthens health and safety protections for households living near drilling operations conducted by PXP. Key features of teh settlement include reduced drilling of new wells, increased air quality monitoring, more stringent noise limits, and mandatory, recurring health and environmental justice assessments. The Settlement Agreement can be viewed here.

A thorough comparison of Baldwin Hills Oil Field restrictions and a breakdown of the current protections afforded by the settlement are here.

Current Projects
The GBHA and Community Advisory Panel (CAP) remain diligent and active. With hard-fought tools now in place thanks to the CSD and Settlement Agreement, community residents are now better equipped to monitor the oil field and any new developments.

How to Get Involved
Upcoming Meetings
Community Advisory Panel (CAP) meetings are held every 4th Thursday of the month at 7PM in the Kenneth Hahn Recreational Area Community Center (map). Attend meetings to learn more or to voice your concerns to County officials and PXP representatives during the public comment period. The panel of 15-20 stakeholders is convened by the County of LA, but a variety of community representatives sit on the panel. Contact Leon Freeman via email to be added to the email list for current meeting information. Information for the next meeting and past meeting minutes can be found at the Department of Regional Planning website for Baldwin Hills.

If you smell odors:
1.    Report to AQMD: 1.800.CUT.SMOG
2.    Report to PXP: 1.800.766.4108
3.    Log your reports on the Greater Baldwin Hills Alliance Tracking Survey
4.    View reports: Baldwin Hills Survey Reports

Foundation Cracks: Are you experiencing cracks in your foundation and walls?
The Department of Regional Planning states that complaints of subsidence damage should be made directly with PXP’s Ombudsperson, Lisa Paillet via email or through PXP's 24-hour hotline at 1.800.766.4108.

The complaint will be added to a log  shared with the County Department of Regional Planning, the Community Advisory Panel, and the Multiple Agency Coordination Committee (which includes the Department of Public Works and the state agency that oversees drilling activities) on a quarterly basis. 

You can also attend a monthly Community Advisory Panel meeting to voice your concerns to County officials and PXP representatives during the public comment period. The panel of 15-20 stakeholders is convened by the County of LA, but a variety of community representatives sits on the panel. The information for the next meeting is found at the Department of Regional Planning website for Baldwin Hills.

Other Resources
Department of Regional Planning
Plains Exploration and Production
The City Project in particular Baldwin Hills: How many new wells will be allowed?

Contact
For more information about the Greater Baldwin Hills Alliance, please contact Erin Steva at 323.295.9372 x262 or via e-mail at erin@chc-inc.org.


Facebook Twitter YouTube Google +