City Council Votes to End Oil Drilling in Culver City by 2026
June 17, 2021
The Culver City Council voted 4-1 on Thursday night to end oil drilling and remove all the gas wells in the city's 78-acre portion of the Inglewood Oil Field (OIF) by July 2026. The dissenting vote was cast by Councilman Goran Eriksson.
At a special session, the council approved the Oil Drilling Subcommittee's recommendation to prohibit any drilling of new wells, remove all active wells, properly cap them, clean up and remediation of the site within the next 5 years.
The new ordinance also directs staff to "refine preliminary implementation procedures and just transition" strategies for OIF workers.
Last October, the Council approved a resolution calling for the "establishment of 5-year phase out period for the amortization and removal of non-conforming oil in the city." It also directed staff to study and consider several components of an Amortization Program, including "adequate bonding, adequate plug and abandonment procedures, complete remediation of the site, and outreach to clean-energy partners."
In addition, councilmembers discussed the possibility of litigation with Sentinel Peak Resource, owner of the oil field since 2017.
In May 20218, the Council authorized a study, conducted by Baker & O'Brien Incorporated, which focused on options for an amortization program and ways to remediate wells and transform the site for beneficial reuse to the community. The study also revealed that the city's portion of the oil field is valued at $4.64 million.
During the evening, various stakeholders addressed the Council on the topic. Most of them were in favor of the amortization, including the Sierra Club.
But representatives of the California Independent Petroleum Association, spoke against the "irresponsible amortization plan," claiming the removal of oil wells would result in the "loss of good paying jobs at OIF."
After the meeting, the Sierra Club tweeted the Council vote was a "landmark victory for public health and climate justice."
"We hope that our efforts in Culver City will move LA County to work to close down the portion of oil field in the unincorporated LA County," tweeted Vice Mayor Daniel Lee.