Los Angeles is leading the charge in addressing local issues related to environmental justice and climate change, with a particular focus on social equity. The City's recent ban on new oil extraction and phase-out of all oil drilling aims to improve the overall livability of the city while addressing past injustices to frontline communities and people of color who have been disproportionately affected by the health impacts of drill sites. Historically, many oil wells in Los Angeles have been located in residential neighborhoods, near homes, community parks, and schools, causing significant harm to the health of nearby residents.
This oil drilling ban demonstrates how zoning can protect residents’ health, safety, and welfare. The ban is consistent with Los Angeles's climate change policies and is aligned with the broader national and statewide efforts to address environmental justice and climate change. The City Planning Commission, alongside the Mayor's Office and the City Council, worked together with impacted communities to advance this initiative.
Another important initiative underway to protect the environment and promote sustainable living in Los Angeles is the Wildlife District Ordinance, which is being proposed for the hillside neighborhoods of the Santa Monica Mountains between the 405 and 101 freeways. The Ordinance includes regulations related to grading; residential floor area; lot coverage; vegetation and landscaping; height; fences and walls; lighting; windows; and trash enclosures, which are intended to balance development with protection of wildlife habitat, and reduce cumulative development impacts on plants, animals, and natural resources.
Additionally, the City Planning Commission and Council Committees unanimously recommended approval of updates to the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Ordinance. The Ordinance seeks to increase the number of mobility options available to Angelenos by requiring more types of development projects to implement transportation strategies aimed at reducing vehicle trips. The program uses a point system that scales the TDM requirements according to a project's size. Projects will select from a menu of more than 40 TDM strategies, which are assigned point values based on their effectiveness in reducing drive-alone trips.
Overall, Los Angeles is making significant strides towards creating a more sustainable and equitable city. These efforts demonstrate how cities can lead the way in addressing local issues related to environmental justice and climate change, while promoting social equity and improving the quality of life for all residents. It is important for other cities to follow in Los Angeles's footsteps and take action towards a more sustainable future.