Nearly 4 million Los Angeles residents live on 28 oil fields containing 3,000 active wells, many unaware of the noxious sites’ effects on their communities. Primarily Black and brown neighborhoods, like Inglewood and Wilmington, however, have long borne the brunt of the oil infrastructure’s health and environmental impacts. Two hours from L.A., hundreds of oil wells dot the rural farmlands of Kern County, where a majority of U.S. produce is grown, as nearby residents struggle to breathe and their water is undrinkable.
Immersed in Oil documents the most affected neighborhoods, visualizing the everyday impacts of Southern California fossil fuel production and emphasizing the BIPOC communities living in petroculture precarity. The photo story is published by High Country News and accompanied by original poems written by Vickie Vértiz.