Elected Officials to Protect California

Join us in urging Governor Newsom to protect our public health and climate by phasing out oil and gas drilling in California.

319 Signatories
From 49 Counties

Join Us

Join us in urging Governor Newsom to protect our public health and climate by phasing out oil and gas drilling in California.

319 Signatories
From 49 Counties

Dear Governor Newsom,

We, the undersigned elected officials, are deeply concerned about the immediate and long-term harms to the people we represent from climate change and pollution caused by the extraction, processing, and burning of fossil fuels.

California has made great progress by committing our electricity sector to be carbon-neutral by 2045 and supporting the Paris Agreement. We appreciate that you have made addressing climate change a priority of your administration. You have rightly said, “we must map out longer-term strategies…for California’s energy future, to ensure that the cost of climate change doesn’t fall on those least able to afford it.”

The science is clear that phasing out fossil fuel production is urgently needed to address climate change and protect public health. It is imperative that California issue no new permits and establish public health setbacks for existing oil and gas drilling. Production of oil and gas is a significant contributor to California’s greenhouse gas emissions.1,2 Yet California remains a top oil-producing state, and three-quarters of oil produced here is as climate-damaging as Canada’s tar sands crude oil.3 The disastrous consequences of fossil fuel production and burning from air pollution alone — not including escalating harms from droughts, fires, mudslides, storms, and sea level rise — already cost Californians more than 12,000 lives and $100 billion dollars annually.4

Unfortunately, the worst costs of fossil fuels are falling on Californians least able to afford them, exacerbating environmental injustices. Nearly 8,500 active California oil and gas wells are located within 2,500 feet of homes, schools, and hospitals,5 where, according to the California Council on Science and Technology, exposure to toxic air contaminants and other pollution caused by oil and gas wells is a significant threat to public health.6 These harms disproportionately impact people of color and economically disadvantaged communities.7 Between 2011 and 2018, of the more than 21,000 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.8

These harms are a bad deal for Californians. The oil and gas industry contributes less than 0.9 percent of California’s GDP and 0.2 percent of jobs,9,10 whereas transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewable energy and expanding electrification is a net job creator.11,12

As governor of California, you have a historic opportunity to lead our nation and the world on a pivotal path away from fossil fuels. Recognizing that we are in a climate emergency, as you have acknowledged, and given the grave public health and environmental justice consequences of fossil fuel production in California, we respectfully urge you to make a new statewide commitment and lay out a plan to achieve the following:

  • End the issuance of permits for new fossil fuel projects, including permits for new oil and gas wells, infrastructure for fossil fuels, and petrochemical projects in California.
  • Design a swift, managed decline of all fossil fuel production, starting with a 2,500-foot human health and safety buffer zone around all homes, hospitals, schools, playgrounds, and farms to protect public health and address the severe environmental injustice of production in low-income communities and communities of color.
  • Commit the state to 100% clean, renewable energy in all sectors, starting with significant investments in disadvantaged communities and areas that are already suffering the most from the worst impacts of fossil fuel extraction and climate change.

Phasing out fossil fuel production is paramount to addressing climate change, and will make California healthier and safer. It will also create hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state as we increase investment in renewable energy, clean vehicles and buildings, energy efficiency, public transportation, and other innovative solutions.4,12 We must include a just transition for fossil fuel workers to help build the clean energy economy of tomorrow, reducing pollution and expanding opportunity for all.

We look to you to provide the leadership we need for a safe, healthy, and prosperous California.


Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/u471476619/domains/californiaelectedofficials.org/public_html/wp-content/themes/astra/functions.php on line 180
    1. California Air Resources Board. “California Greenhouse Gas Emissions for 2000 to 2016: Trends of Emissions and Other Indicators.” 2018 Edition, p. 11. https://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/inventory/pubs/reports/2000_2016/ghg_inventory_trends_00-16.pdf
    2. California Air Resources Board. “California’s 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan,” November 2017, p. 10. https://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/scopingplan/scoping_plan_2017.pdf?_ ga=2.253665481.1304555220.1515158610-304097323.1509477659
    3. Center for Biological Diversity. “Oil Stain: How Dirty Crude Undercuts California’s Climate Progress,” November 2017. https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/climate_law_institute/energy_and_global_warming/pdfs/Oil_Stain.pdf
    4. Jacobson, Mark Z. et al. “A roadmap for repowering California for all purposes with wind, water, and sunlight.” Energy (2014). 
    5. Oil Change International. The Sky’s Limit California: Why the Paris Climate Goals Demand that California Lead in a Managed Decline of Oil Extraction. May 2018. http://priceofoil.org/content/uploads/2018/05/Skys_Limit_California_Oil_Production_R2.pdf
    6. California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), “An Independent Scientific Assessment of Well Stimulation in California: An Examination of Hydraulic Fracturing and Acid Stimulations in the Oil and Gas Industry – Summary Report, “ July 2015, p. 63. https://ccst.us/publications/2015/2015SB4summary.pdf
    7. Srebotnjak, Tanja and Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, “Drilling in California: Who’s at risk?,” Natural Resources Defense Council, October 2014, p. 4. https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/california-fracking-risks-report.pdf
    8. Center for Biological Diversity. “Analysis: Most Oil Wells Approved by Gov. Brown Are in Low-income Areas, Communities of Color.” August 2018 https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2018/california-oil-drilling-08-16-2018.php
    9. U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, “Gross domestic product (GDP) by state (millions of current dollars),” January 24, 2018. https://www.bea.gov/iTable/index_regional.cfm
    10. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and California Employment Development Department’s (EDD) Labor Market Information Division, “Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages: Industry Information,” industry codes 211 (Oil and gas extraction) and 213 (Support activities for mining), accessed April 2018. https://data.edd.ca.gov/Industry-Information-/Quarterly-Census-of-Employment-and-Wages-QCEW-/fisq-v939
    11. Ackerman, Frank et al., Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., “Can Clean Energy Replace California Oil Production? Petroleum cutbacks and the California economy” 2018, http://www.synapse-energy.com/sites/default/files/Can-Clean-Energy-Replace-California-Oil-18-012.pdf
    12. Garrett-Peltier, Heidi, “Green versus brown: Comparing the employment impacts of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and fossil fuels using an input output model,” Economic Modeling, Volume 61, p. 439-447, February 2017. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S026499931630709X

    EOPCA is a division within EOPA, a project of the Solon Center for Research & Publishing 501(c)3 – Ⓒ 2019