| Press Releases

For Immediate Release, November 5, 2020

Contact: Maya Golden-Krasner, (213) 215-3729, mayagoldenkrasner@centeractionfund.org

Candidates Win on Pledge to Rein in California’s Oil Industry

LOS ANGELES— Southern California candidates who vowed to take on the oil industry won marked victories in Tuesday’s elections. Candidates endorsed by the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund promised to take Big Oil to task for polluting frontline communities and fueling the climate crisis, and they were rewarded by voters.

In the race for Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor, District 2, Holly Mitchell defeated former Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson by a resounding 20-point margin. LA County’s Second District is home to the Inglewood Oil Field, the largest urban oilfield in the country. Wesson was backed by the oil industry, while Mitchell received endorsements from conservation and environmental justice groups.

In the race for Culver City Council, Yasmine-Imani McMorrin and Freddy Puza earned enough votes to join climate champion Councilmembers Daniel Lee and Alex Fisch. Lee and Fisch, along with termed-out Councilmember Meghan Sahli-Wells, successfully led Culver City closer to phasing out drilling in the portion of the Inglewood Oil Field under its jurisdiction.

In the city of Los Angeles, Nithya Raman mounted a successful challenge to sitting Democratic Councilmember David Ryu. Raman backed a community-based coalition’s campaign to institute a science-based 2,500-foot buffer between active oil wells and residents. She also called for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to fast-track solar development to achieve 100% clean energy by 2030.

In the race for Ventura County Board of Supervisor, District 5, Carmen Ramirez is leading Tim Flynn by a 10-point margin. Flynn was backed heavily by the oil industry. In contrast, Ramirez supported the 2,500-foot health buffer and called for a transition away from fossil fuel production.

These candidates all triumphed thanks to their commitment to environmental progress and justice, but former Sen. Mitchell drew an especially stark contrast in defeating Wesson. Wesson received over $28,000 from 20 donors connected with the oil and gas industry as of June. These included top California oil and gas producers such as California Resources Corporation and E&B Natural Resources Management Corporation. He was also backed by the California Independent Petroleum Association, a major oil industry trade group, which filed and lost a retaliatory suit against environmental justice youth groups and the Center for Biological Diversity after they successfully sued the city of Los Angeles over its oil-permitting program. Wesson also failed to endorse the 2,500-foot buffer protecting communities from oil and gas wells.

In contrast, Mitchell pledged to refuse campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. She also sent a letter to the city of Los Angeles in support of adopting the 2,500-foot setback to separate oil and gas extraction operations from communities, and she has supported Culver City’s efforts to phase out oil operations at the Inglewood Oil Field.

The Action Fund congratulates the winning candidates and looks forward to joining them in the fight for a cleaner, fairer California.

The Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund is a national nonprofit organization that advocates for legislation and legislators that will advance a progressive environmental agenda. The Center Action Fund is the 501(c)(4) affiliate of the Center for Biological Diversity, but these organizations’ names are not interchangeable. This news release is from the Center Action Fund, not the Center for Biological Diversity.