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New Online Tool Maps Out California's Oil and Gas Facilities

A new online mapping tool shows California has almost 93,000 oil and gas facilities. (jenslanmbert photography/iStockphoto)
A new online mapping tool shows California has almost 93,000 oil and gas facilities. (jenslanmbert photography/iStockphoto)
June 27, 2016

LOS ANGELES - The massive gas leak at Aliso Canyon has helped alert people to the danger of living near oil and gas facilities, and a new online mapping tool shows that California has almost 93,000 of them, with 1.3 million people living within half a mile. Oil and gas threat map.com, from the Clean Air Task Force and Earthworks, shows that nationwide there are 1.2 million facilities next door to more than 12 million people.

Rosanna Esparza, a gerontologist and organizer with the Clean Water Fund in Kern County, said people can get sick from air pollution coming from the sites, and now the map can help pinpoint the risk.

"You can start comparing it to odors," she said. "Are there any particular times of day when the odors are very strong? When you're having extreme headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, bloody noses, chronic cough? These are things that are signals."

According to the threat map, in Kern County alone there are 73,000 oil and gas facilities, with 87,000 people living nearby. In Los Angeles County, there are 6,100 facilities close to 855,000 people, 226 schools and 60 hospitals.

Conrad Schneider, advocacy director with the Clean Air Task Force, hopes the website will empower people and encourage them to get involved.

"The beauty of this map is that it will allow concerned citizens to look up and learn their cancer and other respiratory risks from this toxic air pollution," she said. "We hope that armed with this information they will demand protective safeguards requiring the industry to clean up its act and reduce these serious risks to public health."

The Obama administration recently finalized rules for the emission of methane from new oil and gas facilities and has pledged to work on rules to cover existing operations as well.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA