Religious activists voice out concerns over archdiocese-owned oil well

Residents in the community are complaining about the toxic chemicals that the archdiocese-owned oil well releases. Image: WORKSITE Ltd.|Unsplash

Los Angeles residents are complaining about the oil well near their community that causes foul odor. According to a report, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles owns the oil well, and religious activists believe that the toxic chemicals from the oil well can cause health issues among the residents. 

Residents Exposed to Dangerous Chemicals 

According to the National Catholic Reporter, the Murphy Site in Jefferson Park draws from the La Cienegas Oil Field. The area is a predominantly Black and Latino section of South Los Angeles.

The news outlet said people who live in the area have a significantly higher incidence of respiratory problems like wheezing, eye and nose irritation, dizziness, and decreased lung capacity.

As the Archdiocese of Los Angeles owns the oil well, some religious activists have been demanding that the archdiocese and the city close the facility to safeguard the public from potentially harmful chemicals. An oil tycoon's daughter reportedly donated the site to the archdiocese in 1961. Oil wells have been operating there ever since.

While other oil-producing states focus on rural areas, much of California's drilling occurs in residential areas, frequently in Spanish-speaking communities. 

As Yale Environment 360 reported, several reports of pollution from the wells have been reported. Still, the state has done nothing to remedy the situation.

California extracts 140 million barrels of oil annually from the Monterey Formation. The formation runs along the coast from north of San Francisco to the Los Angeles Basin and inland in the Central and San Joaquin valleys. 

It also revealed that 70% of the state's oil comes from Kern County in the southern San Joaquin Valley. In contrast, the rest comes from Los Angeles. 

The website says high-tech drilling with deadly chemicals is needed to retrieve the final bits of crude from aging oil fields.

Religious Activists Decry Oil Well in Residential Area

Richard Parks, the president and founder of Redeemer Community Partnership, said the presence of oil drilling sites near residential areas is inherently unacceptable. 

He explained that the current location is not the right place for the Murphy Drill Site and should not be there. 

Per the NCR, the Jefferson Drill Site in North University Park was closed in 2019 due to the Redeemer Community Partnership's (RCP) advocacy efforts. Recently, RCP collaborated with Holman United Methodist Church to achieve similar outcomes at the Murphy Site.

Those like Parks argue that more stringent environmental and health restrictions are long overdue in underserved areas like Jefferson Park. There is a suspicion among some Jefferson Park locals that the Murphy Site is responsible for health problems beyond wheezing and diminished lung capacity.

About Redeemer Community Partnership

Since 1992, the non-profit Christian organization Redeemer Community Partnership has been improving the Exposition Park area of South Los Angeles. They aim to build a neighborhood where kids and young adults may grow healthy and successful.

According to the website, everything they do is grounded in their Christian beliefs

They prioritize the welfare of children and support neighborhood-based approaches in which people band together to achieve shared goals.

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