Big Oil Spends Millions to Block California Law Protecting Neighborhoods from Toxic Drilling

February 3, 2023

"Big Oil’s callous indifference to our democracy and our health, all in the name of growing their own profits, is on full display."

California law to end oil drilling in neighborhoods put on pause

Sacramento, CA (Feb. 3, 2023)–In response to the California Secretary of State’s announcement  that the referendum on Senate Bill 1137, which establishes a buffer zone of 3,200 feet between oil drilling and California neighborhoods, has enough signatures to halt implementation until voted on in the 2024 general election, Amy Moas, Ph.D., Greenpeace USA Senior Climate Campaigner, said: “For the millions of Californians living and working near dangerous oil and gas drilling, this news is devastating and literally life threatening. Instead of celebrating the promise of a future where everyone can lead safe, healthy lives, communities will be forced to continue breathing toxic air on the playground, at school, and even during hospital visits. 

“Big Oil’s callous indifference to our democracy and our health, all in the name of growing their own profits, is on full display. The fossil fuel interests backing this referendum are bullying Californians, throwing their money around to prevent public health protections that are not only common sense, but incredibly popular with Californians. 

“After over a decade of organizing and struggle, the passage of SB 1137 was an incredible moment for the entire environmental justice movement, especially for the frontline communities living near drilling – but the oil industry just couldn’t stand losing. We urge Governor Newsom not to submit to these Big Oil bullies and instead to enactdefend these crucial protections for the more than 2.7 million Californians waiting to breathe easier.”


Contact: Katie Nelson, Greenpeace USA Senior Communications Specialist, [email protected], +1 678-644-1681

Greenpeace USA is part of a global network of independent campaigning organizations that use peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace USA is committed to transforming the country’s unjust social, environmental, and economic systems from the ground up to address the climate crisis, advance racial justice, and build an economy that puts people first. Learn more at

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