Letters to the Editor: Communities harmed by Big Oil want justice, not empty words on climate change

Oils wells operate near homes in Los Angeles.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Treating fossil fuels like nuclear weapons is an approach commensurate with the global climate crisis, but we must also pursue local-level solutions to the public health and air quality crisis created by Big Oil.

Los Angeles communities living in the toxic shadow of this industry need a rapid phase-out of fossil fuel extraction and consumption. However, the actions by many elected officials and regulatory agencies have often not matched their rhetoric on climate change and racial justice.

Los Angeles officials have the power to stop the proliferation of fossil fuels, but only through working with impacted communities to develop and implement concrete policies that close the oil wells harming the health of low-income communities of color.


We also need significant public resources — starting with a well-funded city Climate Emergency Mobilization Department — and a serious commitment to advance a just, equitable and sustainable clean-energy economy that benefits vulnerable communities and industry workers.

Martha Arguello, Los Angeles

The writer is executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles.


To the editor: Air raid sirens blared from tall yellow towers every Friday at noon when I was growing up in Montana in the 1950s and 60s. I dutifully dove under my school desk with little understanding or concern. Education enlightened me on the horror of nuclear war.

Likewise, the immense amount of reliable scientific data on global warming should be enlightening. And yet, California leaders are issuing many new oil well permits. Oil industry money continues to influence those who could change this course of action.

If signed by many major cities, the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty will help expose this threat to life on Earth. Those who can legislate a reduction to fossil fuel mining should not continue to dive under their desks.


Kathleen Brown, Santa Clarita


To the editor: Having Los Angeles join a fossil-fuel nonproliferation treaty is all well and good, but more effective remedies are available. We should stop subsidizing fossil fuel companies and put a price on carbon emissions at the source.

If the money collected is returned as a dividend to consumers, even the least wealthy will be protected from the inevitable higher prices, and renewable energy sources will be more economically feasible than they are now.

Let your representatives in local, state and national government know that you want clean air and a livable world.

Maggie Wineburgh-Freed, Los Angeles