Speaking at a press conference Tuesday calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to phase out fossil fuels are Berkeley Vice Mayor Cheryl Davila, Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, Oakland Councilmember-at-Large Rebecca Kaplan, Richmond Councilmember Eduardo Martinez and Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles.
Underscoring the threat of fossil fuel production to the health and safety of residents, Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, Berkeley Vice Mayor Cheryl Davila and Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles held a press conference this week at Oakland City Hall calling on Governor Jerry Brown to back a statewide plan to phase out oil and gas drilling.
The growing network of state, county, and city officials, Elected Officials to Protect California, is acting 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 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.
“Despite its reputation as a global climate leader, California is one of the nation’s top oil-producing states. As we see the crisis of growing fires, we should take the opportunity to improve both our economy and our public health by moving toward more sustainable transportation and energy strategies that benefit our community,” said Councilmember Kaplan.
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, according to a media statement released by the Elected Officials to Protect California.
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, and “We’re asking him to take action to solidify his commitment,” the officials said.
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 problem, according to the elected officials. 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.
“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,” the elected officials statement said.
“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”