Are you one of the millions of Californians living less than a mile from an oil and gas well?
Public health experts have found that living, working, or going to school near oil and gas drilling can be linked to a host of harmful health impacts including asthma, respiratory diseases, preterm births, and even cancer. Recent studies also indicate a higher risk of severe complications from COVID -19.
Use this interactive map to see if you live near toxic drilling.
Health Impacts from Oil and Gas Drilling
Oil and gas drilling emits toxic air pollution, including volatile organic compounds like benzene and formaldehyde, fine particulate matter, and hydrogen sulfide. These harmful pollutants impact everyone nearby. That is why for years, studies have confirmed that being near pollutants associated with oil and gas wells is linked to increased risk of numerous diseases and ailments including respiratory diseases, cancer, and severe complications from COVID-19. And our youngest family members are the most vulnerable to all of these impacts. Public health experts recommend 3,200 feet as the minimum safe distance between neighborhoods and drilling.
Too many Californians are not aware of this toxic threat. The vast majority of Californians living near oil and gas drilling are from low-income, Black, Indigenous, Asian American, and Latinx communities. This disproportionate impact from the extraction of oil and gas is ongoing environmental racism.
California is one of the only major oil-producing states that does not already mandate a public health buffer zone between drilling and where people live, work, and learn. It is time we change that!
Solutions Are Within Reach
Environmental justice organizations and coalitions in California, like VISION and STAND-LA, have been bringing frontline communities together and demanding that lawmakers deliver commonsense public health protections from oil and gas drilling for more than a decade.
Progress has been painstakingly slow. But in October 2021, Governor Newsom finally unveiled a historic plan to halt all new oil and gas drilling within 3,200 feet of neighborhoods. This is a huge step forward – but unfortunately, this plan will allow the tens of thousands of existing wells in neighborhoods to continue operating and endangering millions of Californians. The state is currently formalizing this plan, meaning there’s still time to make it stronger. But with oil and gas lobbyists poised to spend millions to weaken these protections, now is the time to add your voice to the call for an end to all toxic neighborhood drilling!
Tell Governor Newsom that nothing short of ending all neighborhood drilling is acceptable. A liveable future is in his hands.