Black, Latinx Californians face highest exposure to oil and gas wells


作者:Kara Manke     来源:berkeley     阅读模式:只看译文

A Spanish version of this article is available here. More than 1 million Californians live near active oil or gas wells, potentially exposing them to drilling-related pollution that can contribute to asthma, preterm births and a variety of other health problems. A new study appearing today in the journal GeoHealth finds that these Californians are disproportionately Black, Latinx or low-income, and Black Californians are more likely to live near the most intensive oil and gas operations. “When we look across the state of California over the past 15 years, Black, Latinx and low-income people consistently were more likely to live near oil and gas wells,” said study first author David González, a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. “Black people, in particular, were more likely to be in places that had the most intensive oil and gas production, which can lead to more exposure to harmful chemicals.” The study also found that while oil and gas production in California has declined over the past 15 years, the rate of decrease has been slower near racially marginalized communities. Earlier work led by González found that disparities in exposure to oil and gas wells can be traced back to the 1930s in Los Angeles and linked to the historical policy of redlining. “What’s emerging is that oil and gas wells have been disproportionately impacting racially marginalized and low-income communities in California for generations,” González said. “We found that redlining was strongly associated with the disproportionate siting of oil and gas wells in historically racially marginalized communities, and we’re still seeing disproportionate siting and production of oil and gas infrastructure in many of these same neighborhoods today.” Oil and gas production is a complex process that can release an array of hazardous pollutants: Drilling rigs and other heavy machinery emit diesel exhaust, active wells can release toxic volatile organic compounds, and in some cases, the chemicals that are used to extract oil from underground reservoirs can seep into the water supply, endangering those who rely on groundwater for drinking. Operating heavy drilling machinery in residential areas can also create other stressors, like light and sound pollution. Mounting evidence suggests that these pollutants pose a variety of health risks to those who live close to wells — that distance usually is defined as living within 1 kilometer (km), or a little over half a mile. The California climate measures signed into law last September by Gov. Gavin Newsom contained provisions that would ban new drilling within approximately 1 km of homes, schools, hospitals and parks and provide protections for those living near existing wells. But in early February, oil companies succeeded in putting the law on hold until voters decide its fate in a November 2024 ballot referendum. “The weight of scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that people living near oil and gas development have a greater risk of respiratory problems and adverse birth outcomes,” said Seth B.C. Shonkoff, executive director of PSE Healthy Energy and an associate researcher at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. “Attempts to undermine or delay California’s landmark setback law contradict the science and increase public health risks, particularly for Black and brown communities.” Given the complexity of oil and gas operations, many studies only consider proximity to wells when investigating the health risks of oil and gas production. However, this focus on proximity may mask additional disparities in the hazards posed by more intensive production, the researchers said. The current study, which found that Black Californians are more likely to be exposed to more intensive oil productions, might help explain why some studies have found that the health risks associated with living near wells are higher for racially and socioeconomically marginalized people. Rachel Morello-Frosch, professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health and in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management and the study’s senior author, said she hopes the paper makes clear the health equity implications of the oil and gas industry in California. “This study advances scientific understanding about the origins and persistence of racialized inequities in exposure to oil and gas extraction in California, which in turn has significant implications for regulatory interventions that center environmental justice in protecting community health from this well-documented environmental hazard,” Morello-Frosch said. In addition to the 1 million Californians who live near active or retired wells, nearly 9 million — 20% of the population — live close to wells that have been plugged and abandoned, some as early as the 1800s. While wells that have been plugged in recent years are held to rigorous environmental standards, other studies have found that some of these older wells may still be emitting toxic chemicals that could be harmful to those living nearby. “The most common exposure to oil and gas infrastructure in California was to plugged and abandoned wells,” González said. “From a public health perspective, it’s not clear how worried we should be about plugged wells. But given how many people live near them, I think it’s important to ask more questions and take care when we retire wells so we don’t create problems down the road.” Additional study co-authors include Claire M. Morton of Stanford University; Lee Ann L. Hill, Drew R. Michanowicz and Robert J. Rossi of PSE Healthy Energy; and Joan A. Casey of the University of Washington. This study was supported by the California Air Resources Board (#18RD018) and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (R00 ES027023) RELATED INFORMATION Temporal Trends of Racial and Socioeconomic Disparities in Population Exposures to Upstream Oil and Gas Development in California (GeoHealth) More oil and gas wells in redlined neighborhoods Living near oil and gas wells tied to low birth weights in infants A Spanish translation of this article is available here.

研究第一作者、加州大学伯克利分校 (University of California,Berkeley) 校长博士后研究员大卫·冈萨雷斯 (David gonz á lez) 说: “在过去的15年里,当我们观察加利福尼亚州时,黑人、拉丁裔和低收入人群总是更有可能生活在油气井附近。”“特别是黑人,更有可能在石油和天然气生产最密集的地方,这可能导致更多的接触有害化学物质。”
研究还发现,尽管过去15年来加利福尼亚州的石油和天然气产量有所下降,但在种族边缘化社区附近,下降速度却较慢。冈萨雷斯 (gonz á lez) 领导的早期工作发现,油气井暴露的差异可以追溯到洛杉矶的20世纪30年代,并与历史的红线政策有关。
冈萨雷斯说: “正在出现的情况是,几代人以来,石油和天然气井对加州的种族边缘化和低收入社区产生了不成比例的影响。”“我们发现,在历史上被种族边缘化的社区中,重新排队与石油和天然气井的不成比例的选址密切相关,今天,我们仍然看到许多相同社区中石油和天然气基础设施的不成比例的选址和生产。”
石油和天然气生产是一个复杂的过程,可以释放一系列危险污染物: 钻机和其他重型机械排放柴油废气,活性井可以释放有毒的挥发性有机化合物,在某些情况下,用于从地下储层中提取石油的化学物质会渗入供水系统,危及那些依赖地下水饮用的人。在居民区操作重型钻井机械还会产生其他压力源,例如光和声音污染。
越来越多的证据表明,这些污染物对居住在水井附近的人构成各种健康风险-通常将距离定义为居住在1公里 (km) 以内或半英里多一点。
加州气候措施去年9月由州长签署成为法律。加文·纽瑟姆 (Gavin Newsom) 的规定将禁止在大约1千米的房屋,学校,医院和公园内进行新钻探,并为居住在现有水井附近的人们提供保护。但是在2月初,石油公司成功地搁置了该法律,直到选民在2024年11月投票中决定其命运。
“科学证据的分量清楚地表明,生活在石油和天然气开发附近的人有更大的呼吸系统问题和不良分娩结果的风险,” Seth B.C. Shonkoff说,PSE健康能源的执行董事,加州大学伯克利分校公共卫生学院的副研究员。“试图破坏或推迟加州具有里程碑意义的挫折法与科学相矛盾,并增加了公共卫生风险,特别是对黑人和棕色社区而言。”
加州大学伯克利分校公共卫生学院教授,环境科学,政策与管理系教授,该研究的资深作者Rachel Morello-Frosch说,她希望该论文能明确说明石油和天然气行业对健康公平的影响。加州。
Morello-Frosch说: “这项研究促进了对加州石油和天然气开采中种族不平等现象的起源和持续存在的科学理解,这反过来又对监管干预具有重要意义,这些干预措施将环境正义集中在保护社区健康免受这种有据可查的环境危害中。”
除了居住在活跃或退休水井附近的100万名加利福尼亚人外,还有近900万-20% 的人口-居住在被堵塞和废弃的水井附近,其中一些早在19世纪00年代。虽然近年来堵塞的水井遵守严格的环境标准,但其他研究发现,其中一些较老的水井可能仍在排放有毒化学物质,这些化学物质可能对附近的居民有害。
冈萨雷斯说: “加州最常见的石油和天然气基础设施风险是堵塞和废弃的油井。”“从公共卫生的角度来看,目前还不清楚我们应该对堵塞的油井有多担心。但是考虑到有多少人住在他们附近,我认为重要的是在我们退休的时候问更多的问题,小心点,这样我们就不会在未来制造问题。”
其他研究合著者包括斯坦福大学的克莱尔·莫顿 (Claire M. Morton); PSE健康能源公司的Lee Ann L. Hill,Drew R. Michanowicz和Robert J. Rossi; 和华盛顿大学的琼·凯西 (Joan A. Casey)。这项研究得到了加州空气资源委员会 (#18RD018) 和国家环境健康科学研究所 (R00 ES027023) 的支持
加利福尼亚州上游石油和天然气开发中人口暴露的种族和社会经济差异的时间趋势 (GeoHealth)