Over the weekend, hundreds of community members and activists joined Grace and Frankie stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Sam Waterston and Greenpeace USA in the Los Angeles Harbor area to demand politicians like District 15 Councilmember Joe Buscaino and California Governor Gavin Newsom take real action to stop the climate crisis.
Fonda and District 15 community members delivered a letter to Buscaino’s office demanding he do his part to stop new fossil fuel projects, drop existing production, and roll out 2,500 foot public health and safety buffer zones between fossil fuel infrastructure and homes, schools, and other sensitive sites.
Celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Diane Lane introduced speakers from the San Pedro community who fight every day on behalf of their neighbors. Diane Lane spoke about the importance of using celebrity and platform to drive attention to local communities like Wilmington who disproportionately experience the impacts of the climate crisis due to their proximity to oil production and other sources of pollution.
“While we’re in the midst of a massive communicable health crisis across the globe, a much quieter health crisis is worsening in communities like Wilmington, California where hundreds of residents, activists, and celebrities joined me today. We heard powerful stories from community members who have become seriously ill simply by living in their own homes where drilling is occurring in their backyards, without their permission,” said Jane Fonda. “We will be watching California leadership, specifically Councilmember Joe Busciano, who has allowed his district to become a sacrifice zone for the fossil fuel industry, and demanding they do better. We will not quiet down until our leadership decides to protect the people and our climate.”
After the rally, activists and actors including Lana Parrilla, Jocelyn Moguel, Jovan Houston, Dr. Saba Malik, Rosanna Arquette, Diane Lane, and Saffron Burrows, among others, traveled to fossil fuel impact zones around District 15 before arriving at Warren E&P. There, activists blockaded the entrance for hours before peacefully dispersing.
“It’s public health common sense — based on a mountain of scientific evidence — that oil production does not belong anywhere near homes, schools, or other sensitive land uses. So why do they remain in communities like Wilmington and South Los Angeles? Because these communities are comprised overwhelmingly of people of color, lower income people with less access to adequate health care, resulting in an even greater risk of chronic disease and increased vulnerability to the effects of these environmental insults,” said Dr. Saba Malik of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles and the STAND-LA Coalition.
“California Governor Gavin Newsom must do something for the health and safety of communities like Wilmington, and begin a just transition away from fossil fuels for the industry’s workers. He must stop issuing new permits for oil and gas projects, drop existing fossil fuel production, and roll out setback limits by creating a 2500-foot public health and safety buffer zone between fossil-fuel infrastructure like the Warren E & P sites and homes, schools, and other sensitive sites in neighborhoods like Wilmington. The fossil fuel industry has no place in California’s future and doesn’t belong in California’s neighborhoods,” said Annie Leonard of Greenpeace USA.
“Oil operations happen right next to our homes and schools and parks in Wilmington. People are suffering while politicians are sitting on their hands. Just last week a fire broke out at one of the refineries in our community and we had to advise residents to stay indoors and close their windows to try to mitigate toxic fumes from coming into their homes. There is environmental racism at play for frontline communities across California, and it’s unacceptable,” said Alicia Riveria, Wilmington Community Organizer.