Oscar Celebs Were Touring LA’s Oil Fields Last Week

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In a bizarre reversal of the normal order, a busload of movie stars last week went on a tour of Los Angeles neighborhoods where famous people don’t live. The “toxic tour” was led by Spotlight star/activist Mark Ruffalo and was organized to raise awareness about the dangers posed by urban drilling activities in Southern California and Los Angeles’s poor and non-white neighborhoods in particular. Ruffalo was joined by Leonardo DiCaprio, Rashida Jones, Shepard Fairey, Norman Lear, and several Hollywood executives and activists.

Thanks Norman for joining #HollywoodUnited‘s tour of LA’s urban oil drilling sites #keepitintheground@JerryBrownGovpic.twitter.com/SGRV1WW7fD

— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) February 26, 2016

The bus full of celebrities traveled through the Los Angeles area, visiting the many sites where drilling is happening in frighteningly close proximity to communities.

Oil drilling in L.A. occurs dangerously close to low-income communities of color. Neighborhood drilling is environmental injustice @STAND_LA

— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) February 26, 2016

Ruffalo did not mince words when it came to attacking Governor Jerry Brown’s failed record as an environmental steward, calling him “the most drilling-friendly governor in the United States at this moment.” Ruffalo has also produced a short documentary, entitled Dear Governor Brown, that is highly critical of California’s increasing investment in fracking.

While the Los Angeles City Council put a moratorium on fracking in 2014, the practice continues in much of the Southern California area and other extraction pumps on in neighborhoods like Wilmington and Jefferson Park. (The recent methane gas leak in Porter Ranch, now believed to be the worst disaster of its kind in human history, has also called Brown’s leadership as an environmental advocate into question—many critics said the governor was too slow in responding.)

The tour ended at a public park overlooking the Inglewood Oil Field, drawing attention to how much drilling has become part of the landscape for many Angelenos.

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