EFELos Angeles, Aug

Oil wells pumping crude are part of the landscape in some residential neighborhoods of Los Angeles, with all the noise, pollution and smells that go with them.

Some 74 percent of the 759 most "controversial" active wells are in poor African-American and Latino communities, and with that in mind, activists and residents have begun to denounce the parallel history of "social injustice" and "discrimination" in the area.

"More and more people, out of common sense, are beginning to realize that it's not right nor is it healthy to have industrial facilities operating in a neighborhood so close to homes and schools," Niki Wong, one of the leaders of the non-profit Redeemer Community Partnership, told EFE.

Wong lives in West Adams, a working-class, African-American and Latino district built in the late 1800s in South Los Angeles

In 1965, Union Oil bought several parcels of houses there, demolished them and began pumping oil and gas right next door to the residents. Since then the extraction of fossil fuels has not stopped, not even where the operation was bought up by the Freeport McMoRan Inc. in 2013.

One oil well stands some 2 meters (6 1/2 feet) from the windows of the nearest apartment building, so a cement wall no more than 3 meters (10 feet) high was built between the well and the apartments.

Sometimes activists and residents climb up to see the threat existing on the other side of the wall: the drills at work, cranes, smoke, noise and bad odors.

According to the report "Drilling Down: The Community Consequences of Expanded Oil Development in Los Angeles," there are 1,071 active oil wells distributed around the city.

Of those, 759 are at less than 1,500 feet (458 meters) from homes, churches, schools and hospitals. West Adams has 36 of those wells.

But with 500 active oil wells, the neighborhood with the biggest invasion of drilling machines is Wilmington. Located in South L.A., 86.6 percent of its population is Hispanic.

The city of Los Angeles has allowed the Warren E & P company to exponentially expand its drilling in Wilmington with 540 oil wells, according to Gladys Limon, an attorney for Communities for a Better Environment.

For Limon, the situation is very easy to explain: Oil wells and residential areas are "incompatible."

By Aitana Vargas