Recent Articles

Refinery Operations in Los Angeles County

By Matt Goldberg

Oil refinery operations have a long history in Los Angeles County dating back to the early 1900’s. There are currently 6 major companies operating oil refineries in LA County. These include: Chevron (El Segundo), ConocoPhillips (Wilmington and Carson), Exxonmobil (Torrance), Tesoro (Wilmington), and Valero (Wilmington) as well as BP (Carson), which is currently in the […]

Fossil Fuel Production in Southern California: The Trajectory of Development and Current Issues

By Stephen Holle

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With the advent of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) domestic energy production in the United States has increased operational capacity to meet US consumer demand. Fracking uses a highly pressurized solution of water, sand, and proprietary ingredients to induce fracturing or fissures deep underground, which allows natural gas and other fossil fuels to be extracted from wells. […]

Liquid Gold: Southern California’s Oil and Natural Gas Production in the 20th Century

By Kali Staniec

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In 1849, the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in northern California sparked a push toward the Pacific Ocean, a chase for the romantic hope of making it big, quick, that would come to typify history’s perception of the American West. But to the south, the state was on the cusp of a grittier revolution, […]

Current and Proposed Oil and Gas Production in Southern California

By Nathan Chen

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Recent price crises on gasoline in Southern California have led residents and traders to worry about the future of fossil fuels. As gasoline prices reach record highs and supply levels reach record lows, consumers and producers statewide worry if Southern California will have what it takes to make it through the next few seasons. To […]

Electrical Generation in Southern California

By Adam Grosher

Early in the 20th century there were two large electricity providers in southern California. The first is the Department of Water and Power (DWP), and the other is Southern California Edison (SCE). The DWP is a municipally owned utility whereas SCE is a corporation with investors. These two utility providers serve all consumers in Southern […]

Environmental Legacy of Oil and Gas Production and Refining in LA County

By Lauren Otaguro

When it comes to the extraction of oil, one of the hottest topics now is hydraulic fracking. This is the process of pumping millions of liters of water, mixed with sand and a recipe of unregulated chemicals kept secret by oil companies, under high pressure into shale rock many kilometers underground. The rock fractures and […]

The Environmental Impacts of Food Production and Implications for Food Security

By Bridget McDonald

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Earth has undergone a series of irrevocable changes that have impacted its citizens and the natural environment. Through industrialization and population growth, countries have rapidly grown via the expansion of new technologies, urban sprawl, and development. Clearly, such development has yields both positive and negative consequences. Population growth and expansion has resulted in the increased […]

Los Angeles Shrub Lands: Why park managers are holding their breaths

By Lily Kerrigan


If you asked a US Forest manager today about the future of Western landscapes, you may start planning a camping trip to catch a last glimpse. That’s because the forest manager would probably tell a cautionary tale about the future of Western forests, describing a frightening “new normal” that, for all practical purposes, cannot be […]

The history of the palm oil trade in South-East Asia: Is there a sustainable future?

By James Askew


Palm oil producers receive a lot of bad press. For example, under current cultivation methods, there are a number of negative impacts (i.e., habitat alteration, biodiversity loss) on the Southeast Asian jungle landscape. Interestingly, however, few people know the history of this plant and how it has grown to become one of the most economically […]