On Valentines Day, 300+ Elected Officials Ask Gov. Newsom to “Show His Love for California” and Phase Out Oil and Gas Production​

On Valentines Day, 300+ Elected Officials Ask Gov. Newsom to “Show His Love for California” and Phase Out Oil and Gas Production

On Valentines Day, 300+ Elected Officials Ask Gov. Newsom to “Show His Love for California” and Phase Out Oil and Gas Production

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA.—  On Valentines Day, a bipartisan group of hundreds of mayors, county supervisors, and local elected officials made a plea to Governor Gavin Newsom to “show his love for California” by enacting a comprehensive Climate Emergency Plan to phase out the production and burning of fossil fuels. The lawmakers said the plan must end new permits for oil and gas drilling, enact 2,500-foot science-based public health setbacks on drilling, and achieve 100% clean energy in all sectors.

Gathered at the State Capitol, the officials personally delivered a “love letter” to Governor Newsom, signed by over 300 local electeds from 49 counties, including 75 mayors. The letter highlighted the emergency action that the state must take to address the public health and climate harms caused by fossil fuels.

“Oil and gas industries continue to threaten our safety, the public’s health, and are heating up our climate beyond safe levels,” said Davis Mayor Brett Lee. The climate crisis demands action at all levels of government. Many cities have taken action, now it’s time for the state to step up.”

In the absence of comprehensive state oil and gas policy that protects Californians and the climate, the letter highlights the rapidly growing number of policies that more than 110 local governments across the state have enacted to protect their communities from fossil fuel production and burning. Concerned that Australia’s apocalyptic fires are a dire warning for California’s increasingly life-threatening fire season, local elected officials from across the state stood in solidarity at the State Capitol and called on the Governor to declare a climate emergency.

Already, more than 110 local governments in California have passed more than 165  local policies to protect their communities from fossil fuels, including phase-out plans and setbacks on oil and gas drilling, climate lawsuits or divestment from fossil fuel companies, or opposing expansion of fossil fuel production or infrastructure. 

“With refineries surrounding the area I represent in Solano County, pollution is degrading the quality of life for many of our most marginalized residents. In the portion of Vallejo that I represent, we have high rates of asthma, cancer, other health issues related to pollution,” said Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown. “The time to transition to clean energy is now – to protect our citizens. It’s our moral obligation.”

With the climate crisis polling as the top issue for California voters, deadly fires and climate disasters worsening, the elected officials highlighted how the state’s fossil fuel production threatens the health and safety of our communities and emphasized that fossil fuel production drives the climate crisis and kills 12,000 Californians each year.

“Since Chico became the first city to declare a climate emergency, many others have followed. It’s high time the State issued a Climate Emergency Decree. That way we can start to take emergency action to abate the climate crisis before it’s too late,” said Chico Mayor Randall Stone. “It’s time we put our people above the profits of corporations.”

On November 19, 2019, Governor Newsom announced a halt on new oil extraction wells that use high-pressure steam injection drilling, an independent review of new fracking permits, and a new rule-making process for public health and safety protections near oil and gas extraction facilities set to take place in 2020. The officials welcomed the state’s policy shift concerning fossil fuel production, and stand ready to work with the Governor. But they consider his actions to date baby steps. 

The officials said transitioning to a clean energy economy will grow jobs, and stop grave environmental health injustices happening in low-income communities and communities of color which are disproportionately affected by fossil fuel production. 

“We must start transitioning to renewable energy. It’s a golden opportunity to grow jobs, and improve the health and well-being of our citizens. We have the knowhow, now we need legislative action,” said Fireburgh Former Mayor and current City Councilmember Felipe Perez.  “Renewables can help ensure everyone has clean water. It’s time for bold action from our governor.”

The push from elected officials comes after the Bureau of Land Management announced its analysis of the potential effects of hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas resources on public lands and Federal minerals within the planning area in California.

Despite its reputation as a global climate leader, California is one of the nation’s top oil-producing states. Oil produced in California is some of the dirtiest and most climate-damaging crude in the world. Governor Newsom has taken small steps with the recent moratorium on certain types of drilling, yet there is no comprehensive plan to ramp down extraction. In fact, more than 21,000 permits for new drilling have been issued since 2011. Of these new oil and gas wells permitted by the state, 76 percent are located in communities with above-average poverty rates for California, and 67 percent are located in communities of color.

“We seriously need to reduce emissions and the only way to do that is to phase out the production and use of dirty fossil fuels. Gov. Newsom should take strong steps to protect Californians from the worsening effects of global climate chaos, which include fires, floods, drought and toxic air,” said Millbrae Vice Mayor Ann Schneider. “It’s outrageous, our kids can’t play outside on bad days. During those days the air is so dangerous our recreation, public works and landscape employees can’t work outdoors.”

Elected county, city, school board, and local officials from across the state, who launched Elected Officials to Protect California in 2018, are taking action both within their respective jurisdictions and across California to end the extraction of dirty fossil fuel that harms their constituents and the environment.

The most damaging health risks of oil and gas drilling occur within a one-half mile radius of active oil and gas development, according to the California Council on Science and Technology. Yet, California has no statewide policy limiting the proximity of drilling to homes, schools or other sensitive areas. According to a recent poll, nearly two-thirds of California voters support phasing out oil and gas drilling within half a mile of homes, schools and other vulnerable sites.

More than 6 million people, including tens of thousands in California, marched in the September Climate Strike demanding action to phase out fossil fuels. More than 750 grassroots organizations in California and around the world are urging the Golden State to set a global precedent by announcing a statewide plan to completely phase-out existing dirty fuel production and enact 2,500 foot setbacks on drilling to protect public health and the climate.

The letter and signatories of Elected Officials to Protect California are at californiaelectedofficials.org.

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Photo credit: Elected Officials to Protect California


October 28, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Contact: Alexander Cornell du Houx, President of Elected Officials to Protect California Cell: 207.319.4511

After climate summit, 250 CA mayors, officials urge Gov. Brown to walk his talk, end permitting of fossil fuels

For Immediate Release, September 17, 2018

Press Contact: Christian Brock, Elected Officials to Protect California, christian@californiaelectedofficials.org, (618) 520-4231

After climate summit, 250 CA mayors, officials urge Gov. Brown to walk his talk, end permitting of fossil fuels

Elected officials say leading on climate means ending drilling that harms climate, communities


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— Days after Governor Jerry Brown hosted the U.N. Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, 250 mayors, county supervisors, and elected officials from a majority of counties across California are urging the Governor to walk his talk on climate leadership by creating a statewide plan to phase out oil and gas drilling that is harming public health and worsening climate change.

“The Governor says that no state has done more on climate change,” said Culver City Vice Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells, co-chair of Elected Officials to Protect California. “Tell that to the 5.4 million Californians that live with a mile of oil and gas wells, including in my community, breathing poisoned air from dirty drilling.”

A growing bipartisan network of state, county, and city officials, which launched as Elected Officials to Protect California in June, is continuing to press Gov. Brown and the state of California more broadly to end oil and gas drilling after the Summit.

“This summit brought the clear message that leaders everywhere must pledge to do everything to keep fossil fuels in the ground,” said Carmen Ramirez, Mayor pro tem of Oxnard. “Half measures won’t get us where we desperately need to be to protect the future.”

The officials are taking action both within their respective districts and across California to end the extraction of dirty fossil fuel that harms their constituents and the environment. The network is asking Gov. Brown to take the first step by halting permits for new fossil fuel projects, prohibiting drilling within 2,500 feet of homes and vulnerable areas.

“Governor Brown has been a global champion for climate action, and now we need him to be our champion for California,” said Hillary Ronen, San Francisco Supervisor. “We’re joining with hundreds of elected officials across California calling on Governor Brown to start phasing out oil and gas production in order to protect our public health and communities.”

Despite its reputation as a global climate leader, California is one of the nation’s top oil-producing states. Oil produced in California is some of the dirtiest and most climate-damaging crude in the world, yet there are currently no plans to ramp down extraction. In fact, during the Brown administration, more than 20,000 permits for new drilling have been issued. Gov. Brown has previously stated that he is committed to decarbonizing the world – we’re asking him to take action to solidify his commitment.

“Governor Brown stood up to Trump’s offshore drilling plans, yet he has permitted 20,000 wells onshore in the middle of our communities, which are poisoning our families,” said Jovanka Beckles, Councilmember of Richmond. “We need Governor Brown to act now to phase out refinery and drilling pollution by ending new permitting of drilling.”

In addition to the climate damage caused by California’s dirty fuel extraction, thousands of oil and gas wells operate next to homes and schools, releasing toxic air pollutants that cause cancer, asthma, and other health problems. Drilling often occurs disproportionately in low-income communities and communities of color who already suffer from some of the worst air quality in the nation.

“100% clean energy means no new fossil fuels. You cannot claim to be a climate leader and frack and drill our state,” said Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez, Azusa School Board Vice-President. ”Climate leadership in California means stopping the drilling that’s poisoning our families.”

Though the most significant health risks occur within a one-half mile radius of active oil and gas development, California has no statewide policy limiting the proximity of drilling to homes, schools or other sensitive areas. According to a recent poll, nearly two-thirds of California voters support phasing out oil and gas drilling within half a mile of homes, schools and other vulnerable sites.

“Much of the fossil fuel production in the Bay Area and California happens in low-income communities of color that receive few economic benefits but must suffer from the deadly pollutants emitted,” said Sandra Fewer, San Francisco Supervisor. “The history of fossil fuel production in the State of California is a history of the worst form of environmental injustice.”

The elected leaders noted that phasing out fossil fuel extraction would create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the state through increased investment in renewable energy, clean vehicles and buildings, energy efficiency, public transportation and other innovative solutions.

“We regularly hear from constituents about the tremendous burdens that fossil fuel production places on our communities and public health, especially low-income communities and communities of color,” said Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA17). “Transformative climate leadership must include bold action on the production side of fossil fuels. California can lead the way on limiting fossil fuel extraction just as we have led in the transition to renewable energy by ending the issuance of new permits for fossil fuel development and infrastructure.”

More than 800 environmental, public health and community groups have joined the “Brown’s Last Chance” campaign similarly demanding that Gov. Brown halt new oil and gas drilling in the state and devise a fair and equitable plan to phase it out entirely.

“In signing SB100, Gov. Brown has recognized the need to phase out oil and gas. He has heard our voices,” said Elizabeth Patterson Mayor of Benicia, home of the Valero Benicia oil refinery. “We look forward to working with the Governor and his leadership to begin the policy and legislative process of phasing out oil and gas drilling, while accelerating our economic independence of oil and gas. I thank the Governor for his leadership.”

“California has never been afraid to lead,” said San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.  “The world is counting on us to take the first step and start phasing out the dirty oil and gas production that is the source of the climate emergency and deadly pollution. We need Governor Brown to act now to protect our communities and public health.”


September 10, 2018

Statement from Culver City Vice Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells | Co-Chair:

STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF 240 CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS REGARDING GOV BROWN SIGNING SB100

Bipartisan Group of Hundreds of Officials Commends Signing, Urges Governor to End New Permitting for Oil & Gas Projects to Protect Public Health

SB100 Commits State to Power From 100% Clean Electricity by 2045, Does Not Address Fossil Fuel Extraction in California

“On behalf of 240 elected officials from a majority of California counties calling to phase out fossil fuel production and transition to clean energy, we commend Governor Brown for signing SB100 and Senator Kevin de León’s visionary leadership in crafting this bill. It is a historic day for California and our nation.

“While SB 100 should be celebrated, it does not address the climate impacts and terrible public health impacts of ongoing oil and gas production in our communities. More than 5.4 million Californians live within a mile of drilling. Pollution from wells, refineries, and pipelines causes asthma, cancer, and reproductive harm, impacting disadvantaged people and people of color the most. Despite the known harms, California has permitted 20,000 new oil and gas wells during Governor Brown’s administration and has no statewide setbacks on drilling from homes, schools, and hospitals.

“There is a disconnect between transitioning to 100% clean energy without ending the terrible impacts of oil and gas production on our communities today. We cannot hold our breaths until 2045 and continue to suffer the dire consequences of fossil fuel extraction. We cannot do one without the other.

“That’s why we call on the Governor to end new permits for fossil fuel projects and create a 2,500-foot drilling setback from homes, schools, and vulnerable areas. This is the leadership that we urgently need to protect our public health and communities.”

Elected Official’s to Protect California’s letter urging Governor Brown to phase out oil and gas production can be viewed here.


100+ Local Electeds Launch New Network with Letter Calling on Gov. Brown to Phase Out Oil and Gas Production in CA

June 26, 2018

For Immediate Release, June 26, 2018

Press Contact: Phillip Vander Klay, Elected Officials to Protect California, phillipvanderklay@gmail.com, (916) 764-7056

100+ Local Electeds Launch New Network with Letter Calling on Gov. Brown to Phase Out Oil and Gas Production in CA

Letter Says Keeping State’s Fossil Fuels in the Ground Necessary to Protect Public Health and Lead on Climate Change

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— Echoing serious concerns from citizens whose health and safety are threatened by fossil fuel production, a group of more than 100 local elected officials across California sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown today calling for a statewide plan to phase out oil and gas drilling.

Today’s letter marks the launch of Elected Officials to Protect California, an independent elected officials network working to demand an end to the dirty fossil fuel extraction that harms their constituents and the environment. The network is urging Gov. Brown to take the first step by halting permits for new fossil fuel projects, prohibiting drilling within 2,500 feet of homes and vulnerable areas and committing the state to 100 percent renewable energy.

“Oil fields make dreadful neighbors. In Culver City, we’re taking steps to end oil extraction in our city,” said Meghan Sahli-Wells, Vice Mayor of Culver City. “I urge Governor Brown to follow suit and protect Californians’ health and our planet’s future from dirty drilling operations.”

Despite its reputation as a global climate leader, California is one of the nation’s top oil-producing states. Oil produced in California is some of the dirtiest and most climate-damaging crude in the world, yet there are currently no plans to ramp down extraction. In fact, more than 20,000 permits for new drilling have been issued during the Brown administration.

In addition to the climate damage caused by California’s dirty fuel extraction, thousands of oil and gas wells operate next to homes and schools, releasing toxic air pollutants that cause cancer, asthma and other health problems. Drilling often occurs disproportionately in low-income communities and communities of color who already suffer from some of the worst air quality in the nation.

“Our highest priority is ensuring the health and safety of our communities as we insure job security for a just transition,” said José Gurrola, Mayor of Arvin. “This means holding the oil industry accountable and protecting our most vulnerable residents from fossil fuel production happening near their homes and schools.”

Though the greatest health risks occur within one-half mile from active oil and gas development, California has no statewide policy limiting the proximity of drilling to homes, schools or other sensitive areas. According to a recent poll, nearly two-thirds of California voters support phasing out oil and gas drilling within half a mile of homes, schools and other vulnerable sites.

The elected leaders noted that phasing out fossil fuel extraction would create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the state through increased investment in renewable energy, clean vehicles and buildings, energy efficiency, public transportation and other innovative solutions.

“Our city has never been afraid to tackle climate change by taking on the oil industry,” said Serge Dedina, Mayor of Imperial Beach. “This letter is our challenge to Governor Brown to do the same.”

Today’s letter comes as more than 800 environmental, public health and community groups have joined the “Brown’s Last Chance” campaign similarly demanding that Gov. Brown halt new oil and gas drilling in the state and devise a fair and equitable plan to phase it out entirely. If Gov. Brown does not act, he will lose those groups’ support for his Global Climate Action Summit in September.

 

Additional Statements:

“I have devoted my life to serve my community and to achieve environmental and climate justice in the San Joaquin Valley on the frontlines of massive contaminating industries,” said Rey León, Mayor of Huron. “Independent elected leaders like myself are standing together to call on Governor Brown to develop a comprehensive plan to 100 percent renewable energy that will phase out fossil fuels while integrating and empowering low-income and farmworker families to be effective stakeholders.”

“We are here with a message to Governor Brown and the nation,” said Elizabeth Patterson, Mayor of Benicia. “We are local elected leaders taking bold steps to ask the state’s leaders including Governor Brown to clean up our cities, towns and agricultural lands and protect our people by calling for an end to the extraction, processing and burning of fossil fuels that makes California one of the largest oil producers on the globe.”

“We turned the corner a couple of years ago in being able to produce and store energy from renewable sources,” said Rex Parris, Mayor of Lancaster. “The only reason to continue supporting the fossil fuel industry is greed. We are out of time because of climate disruption, and must stand up for our children.”

“We must think of the future that our children will inherit, so it is our responsibility not to be short-sighted,” said Carmen Ramirez, Mayor Pro Tem of Oxnard. “We must act now to save that future, and we will be held accountable.”

“A ban on fracking is essential to protecting the health of low-income people in California,” said Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza

“Pollution continues to plague air quality in the Central Valley and has such harmful effects on our children, seniors and those with asthma and other lung diseases that too often end up in a doctor’s office, the hospital or emergency room.” said Fresno-area State Center Community College District Trustee Eric Payne. ”Phasing out oil and gas drilling is a step in the right direction to better protect our loved ones.”

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