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Days Before Global Summit, 225+ Humboldt County, California Lawmakers Challenge Gov. Brown‘s Climate Leadership, Demand End to Oil, Gas Drilling
Bipartisan Letter from Hundreds of Officials Says Costs of State’s Fossil Fuels Industry Too High for Public Health, Worsens Climate Change
HUMBOLDT, Calif.— Days before San Francisco hosts world delegates for Governor Jerry Brown’s UN Global Climate Action Summit, 9 of 11 San Francisco Supervisors are joining with more than 225 Humboldt County and California elected officials from 34 counties to challenge the Governor to create a statewide plan to phase out oil and gas drilling that is harming public health and worsening climate change.
The growing bipartisan network of state, county, and city officials called Elected Officials to Protect California is 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 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.
“Our challenges aren’t unique to Arcata,” said Sofia Pereira, Mayor of Arcata. “Climate change is a threat to every community and in Arcata, we’re taking action to meet this challenge head-on. We’re advancing clean energy, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and preparing for the impacts of sea level rise which will hit Humboldt Bay the hardest on the west coast. We need the Governor’s climate leadership to protect communities across the North Coast and California from the impacts of climate change. The time is now to act.”
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.
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.
“The impacts of climate change are already apparent. Our society needs to take swift steps to transition from a fossil fuel-based economy simply for these impacts to remain survivable for future generations,” said Stephen Kullmann, Commissioner, 3rd District, Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District. “The time to act is now. I wish we had done more ten years ago. I do not want to think the same ten years from now.”
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.
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 reliance on dirty fossil fuel is a ticking time bomb that can and will kill us – Eureka could be partially underwater by 2050, a little over 30 years from now if we don’t take action today then when are we?” Austin Allison, Councilmember, City of Eureka
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.
“Reducing emissions to slow the rate of climate change is more critical than ever and phasing out fossil fuel production and transitioning to renewable energy helps to move us in that direction.” Mike Wilson, Supervisor, 3rd District, Humboldt County
The full letter and list of signatories of Elected Officials to Protect California is available at: http://californiaelectedoffici