LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles officials release a framework Saturday for transitioning oil drilling workers to new kinds of jobs as both the city and county begin phasing out oil extraction.
The Just Transition Strategy was released hours before Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an ordinance banning new oil and gas extraction in the city and ceasing existing operations within 20 years. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a similar ordinance in October.
"Oil drilling has always been a part of L.A.'s history, but today, we're creating a new legacy for Los Angeles," Garcetti said. "The Just Transition Task Force is a recognition of our responsibility to support the workers who will feel the impact of this transition the most -- and show the world how we can turn this environmental imperative into an economic opportunity and build the green and just future our children and grandchildren deserve."
The report was authored by a task force made up of labor groups, tribal nations, the oil industry, academic institutions, state and local government entities, environmental justice leaders and workforce development experts. The Task Force convened more than two dozen times in 2021 and 2022.
Among its objectives were:
-- To provide oil extraction workers impacted by phase-out policies with the necessary support to transition their skills into jobs of comparable, family-sustaining compensation or retirement in ways that promote livelihoods and dignity.
-- Properly remediate closed oil well sites and integrate input from frontline communities and sovereign native nations, on whose ancestral homelands Los Angeles is built, in community visioning, remediation and land use redevelopment planning processes; and
-- Leverage public and private funds to equitably and sustainably finance and coordinate the successful implementation of the Just Transition Strategy.
"The era of trading our clean air, water, and soil for fuel must end. But we don't have to choose between our environment and good jobs -- we can and will have both," Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Janice Hahn said. "This strategy is going to help light our path toward environmental justice for all communities, all while preserving and expanding economic opportunity."
Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger called the county's oil extraction workers "a critical part of the industry's workforce, our communities, and our regional economy. The work we've done to attract employers to L.A. in sectors like zero emissions transportation manufacturing is an important investment that I fully support. The Just Transition Strategy report shows that we can transition workers into those kinds of careers with dignity. It's a thoughtful plan, developed by critical stakeholders, which gives me confidence that we are on a path where our sustainable future has a place for all of our workers. Although change can be difficult, every transition is an opportunity to ensure that we are advancing our goals of protecting our environment, our communities, and our workforce."
Supervisor Holly Mitchell called the task force "a national model for tangibly putting people first while phasing out fossil fuel extraction. The Just Transition Strategy released today demonstrates that L.A. brings the same level of ambition to elevating and supporting workers as we do to phasing out fossil fuel extraction. This strategy proves that an environmental win for the communities most impacted is also a win for workers."
Chris Hannan, executive secretary of the LA/OC Building & Construction Trades Council and the task force's workers subgroup co-lead, said, "The skilled men and women of the LA/OC Building & Construction Trades Council need places to work that are family-sustaining jobs. I appreciated that the county and city elevated labor in the discussion on the future of jobs in the county of Los Angeles."
There are roughly 2,930 active and idle oil wells throughout the city of Los Angeles and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
The full report can be found at https://assets-us-01.kc- usercontent.com/0234f496-d2b7-00b6-17a4-b43e949b70a2/d2ade00b-66cc-4da1-8a01- 7f9d72ee7b5d/LA%20County- City%20Just%20Transition%20Strategy_FINAL%2012.5.22.pdf.