Grist: Historically redlined neighborhoods have twice the number of oil and gas wells

Grist, April 13, 2022, Historically redlined neighborhoods have twice the number of oil and gas wells

The analysis is the first of its kind, the work of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, San Francisco, and Columbia University. They compared data on the location of plugged and active oil and gas wells to data from maps generated by the Home Owners Loan Corporation, the federal lending program created to prevent home foreclosures during the Great Depression. The program excluded Black people — as well as Jews, other people of color, and immigrants — from opportunities by creating maps which labeled white neighborhoods as “desirable,” shading them green, and labeled Black neighborhoods, in particular, as “hazardous,” shading them red — hence the term “redlining.”

Looking at data for 33 cities where oil and gas wells are drilled and operated in urban neighborhoods across 13 states, researchers discovered the striking correlation between neighborhoods that were redlined and neighborhoods that have a high density of oil and gas wells.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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