City of Signal Hill Holds Second Public Hearing on Controversial 20-Year Drilling Expansion

Climate advocates call out City of Signal Hill for failing to alert public of environmental, health impacts

Published Jun 25, 2024


Climate and Energy

Climate advocates call out City of Signal Hill for failing to alert public of environmental, health impacts

Climate advocates call out City of Signal Hill for failing to alert public of environmental, health impacts

Signal Hill, CA – Last night the City of Signal Hill held a second public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for Signal Hill Petroleum’s proposed oil drilling expansion which would extend existing drilling operations by 20 years and add 46 new oil wells. The City of Signal Hill currently has over 500 oil wells.

Climate groups and community advocates voiced their concerns with the Draft Environmental Impact Report during the hearing. The Report fails to adequately analyze the project’s impacts to greenhouse emissions and climate change, water quality and seismic risks.

Andrea Vega, Southern California Senior Organizer with Food & Water Watch, said, “Over the past few months, organizers like myself have been reaching out to Signal Hill residents to inform them about Signal Hill Petroleum’s plans to not only continue toxic oil drilling operations but add even more wells in these residents’ backyards. The vast majority of residents we spoke had no idea that a proposed neighborhood drilling expansion project was in the works, with many expressing their concerns about even more drilling in their communities. The concerns that residents expressed to us, namely the public health and climate impacts of neighborhood oil drilling, go largely ignored in the DEIR of this unprecedented proposal. The City of Signal Hill must thoroughly and critically analyze this project and put the health and safety of the community above the profits of greedy polluters. There is no reason for oil wells to be next to homes or on a playground.”

Mary Gonzales, Signal Hill resident and Climate Brunch Community Organizer, said, “Why did the City pursue this project when the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) scoping conclusion in 2023 indicated that the most straightforward, protective, and environmentally beneficial action Signal Hill can take is to reject this project outright. Signal Hill residents will suffer clear health harms for the next two decades if drilling continues – and especially if Signal Hill Petroleum drills 46 new wells. The extension of the Conditional Use Permits flies in the face of California’s climate commitments and Los Angeles’s plans to phase out oil drilling, especially near where people live, work, and play. An outright rejection of the project would spare the City the time and expense of preparing an EIR, especially when the evidence so clearly weighs against proceeding with the project.”

QC, Community Organizer with Climate Brunch, said, “Most people we spoke with were not aware of the permit. We spoke with countless residents who reported various health concerns they had. Residents recounted stories of a cancer-stricken neighborhood in which a resident’s own husband had just died of cancer, residents shared stories of newborns with asthma, and there had been countless stories of headaches, etc. As you can imagine, conversations like these are emotionally difficult but they have been crucial in helping people draw a connection between living close to oil wells and the deadly implications on the health and wellbeing of themselves and their families. It has been very disappointing to find that the City didn’t adequately notify the public about this incredibly consequential 20-year permit. It has also been extremely challenging to find the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was not only prepared by Catalyst Environmental, a company with oil industry ties, but it was also biased and fails to adequately address the inherent health concerns that have been drawn to living so close to oil operations (Dr. Jill Johnston, Dr. Elizabeth Kamai). Repeated requests for the City to extend the EIR’s Public Comment Period due to improper notification have not been addressed. The City needs to do more to responsibly and properly address the mounting calls from concerned residents, community organizers, and members of the scientific community to equitably evaluate the very real concerns that have not been addressed or responded to in this legal process.”

“It’s outrageous for Signal Hill to even consider two decades of new oil and gas wells within the health buffer,” said Kassie Siegel, Director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “This environmental analysis is one of the worst I’ve seen in 25 years of reviewing such documents. It blatantly ignores both the law and the harm to those living in these neighborhoods. This dangerous project needs to be stopped for our health and the climate before it’s too late.”


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Press Contact: Madeline Bove [email protected]