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Dear <<First Name>>,
 
At yesterday’s Environmental Justice committee, which I am honored to chair, we moved forward two major environmental initiatives: the banning of oil and gas drilling sites in Los Angeles, and a dramatic expansion of the City’s efforts to dispose of organic waste.

In January, under my leadership, the Environmental Justice Committee directed City Departments to prepare new rules that would ban new oil wells in Los Angeles, while phasing out existing ones across the City. 

Yesterday, I led the unanimous approval of these new rules, which now move to the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee for further consideration. I also directed the Department of City Planning, which is responsible for drafting these rules, to provide quarterly reports that will ensure the City remains on track to complete an amortization study that will determine how to phase out existing oil and gas wells.

Having grown up next to oil extraction sites in Oklahoma and experienced negative health outcomes, I understand this issue firsthand. My view is simple - families, no matter where they happen to live, deserve to breathe clean air, have safe neighborhoods, and an opportunity for a healthy life - free from the harmful impacts of dirty energy.

We also took steps today to recycle organic waste and divert it from our landfills. Under new State rules, cities are required to recycle 90% of their organic waste by 2025, including food scraps like apples, egg shells and chicken bones. When this waste ends up in landfills, it releases methane - a big contributor to climate change. 

While 2025 is right around the corner, we are well underway toward achieving our diversion goal. This past summer, Los Angeles already increased the number of households participating in the existing program from 18,000 to 40,000 households - and by the end of the calendar year, 750,000 households will be enrolled in the City’s organic waste disposal efforts. Earlier this summer, I was proud to literally go door-to-door in the 13th District to inform Angeleno households about this exciting program. 

Our action yesterday asks our City Attorney to write new rules that will require all single-family homes, apartments and businesses to recycle their organics, and will bring the City into alignment with the State rules outlined in SB 1383.

Finally, as we continue to face severe drought, we secured a commitment from the Metropolitan Water District, which provides water to the vast majority of Southern California, to invest in water infrastructure in Los Angeles. While drought has diminished water output from the Colorado River, a vital water source for our region, our city still has vast amounts of untapped groundwater. By making investments in groundwater infrastructure, we will import less water from the Colorado, helping to conserve this waterway. 

I want to thank all of the advocates who are working with us to build a more equitable, sustainable City. This includes the STAND-L.A. coalition, as well as every Angeleno who has demanded the City take action at the local level to address the climate emergency.

I look forward to sharing more soon. 
 
With kind regards,

MITCH O'FARRELL
 

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