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Greenpeace USA responds to Governor Newsom’s Fossil Fuel Announcement

by Katie Nelson

April 23, 2021

Governor Newsom’s announcement banning new fracking permits starting in 2024 and analyzing pathways for a phase out of oil extraction is not enough to address the urgent climate and public health crises facing Californians

Sacramento, California — Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a ban on new hydraulic fracturing permits starting in 2024. Additionally, the governor requested that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) explore avenues to phase out fossil fuel extraction in the state by no later than 2045 — an almost 25 year timeline to take the action that science tells us we need urgently in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. These announcements follow the governor’s September Executive Order calling on the California state legislature to ban fracking, as well as last week’s failed vote on SB 467, which proposed a timeline for phasing out fracking and other extreme drilling techniques. 

In response, Dr. Amy Moas, Senior Climate Campaigner at Greenpeace USA, said: 

“While today’s announcement signals an important first step by Governor Newsom towards climate and environmental justice, it doesn’t do enough to address the increasingly urgent climate and public health crises facing Californians today. Californians don’t need another regulatory delay to tell us what we already know. 

“California already faces the intensifying impacts of the climate crisis, which could get even worse just as the state aims to recover from the pandemic — and Governor Newsom has a golden opportunity to lead the rest of the country in tackling the number one driver of the climate crisis. For Governor Newsom to reclaim California’s title as an innovator and climate leader, he must take bold steps to protect people and the planet from dangerous fossil fuel expansion: by committing to a 2,500-foot buffer zone to protect communities living near drilling, jumpstarting investments in a just transition so no workers and communities are left behind by the decline of the fossil fuel industry, and beginning a bold phase out of fossil fuels today. These are the kinds of solutions we urgently need to address fossil fuel racism, public health disparities, and give workers and communities a chance to live safe, secure, and healthy lives.”

A recent American Lung Association report ranked two major drilling regions, Bakersfield and Los Angeles as among the most polluted in the state, while new studies find that Los Angeles communities living nearest to oil extraction sites experienced an overall reduction in lung function greater than the negative impacts of environmental tobacco smoke and living next to busy roadways, and neighborhoods with the worst air pollution saw a 60 percent increase in deaths from COVID-19. In California, approximately 7.37 million people — disproportionately Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and working class — live within one mile of an active oil or gas well and 2.17 million people live within 2,500 feet of an oil and gas well. [1]

Notes:

[1] Last week, Greenpeace USA released Fossil Fuel Racism: How Phasing Out Oil, Gas, and Coal Can Protect Communities, an original analysis discussing how phasing out fossil fuel production would advance our elected leaders’ stated goals around climate, public health, and racial justice in tandem. Citing examples from California’s Kern County to Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley” and beyond, the report examines how every phase of fossil fuel production — extraction, transport, refining, and production — disproportionately pollutes Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and low income communities. 

Contact: 

Katie Nelson, Strategic Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (678) 644-1681, [email protected] 

Katie Nelson

By Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson is a Senior Communications Specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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