Oakland At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, Mayor of Berkeley, Jesse Arreguin, Vice Mayor of Berkeley Cheryl Davila and Councilmember of Richmond, Jovanka Beckles will be holding a press conference Tuesday, August 21, 2018, 10:30am on the steps of Oakland City Hall. One Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland.
The press conference is to call on California Governor Jerry Brown to establish a statewide plan to phase out oil and gas drilling and echoing severe concerns that fossil fuel production threatens the health and safety of residents.
The growing network of state, county, and city officials, 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.
“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,” says 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. 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.
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.
Rebecca Kaplan is the Oakland’s 3-Term At-Large Councilmember