Labor and environmental justice advocates urge California government to end oil & gas drilling near communities
August 25, 2022
The letter called on California’s leaders to pass the measure and reject industry misconceptions that climate and public health action are opposed to worker’s rights.
Sacramento, California (August 25, 2022)–Former Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO Tefere Gabre, alongside environmental justice leader and Executive Director of the Central California Environmental Justice Network Nayamin Martinez, sent a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature urging them to pass Governor Newsom’s proposal to protect communities from oil and gas pollution. The measure would protect frontline communities, public health, and workers at the same time by establishing a safe distance between oil and gas extraction and homes, schools, and hospitals.
The letter called on California’s leaders to pass the measure and reject industry misconceptions that climate and public health action are opposed to worker’s rights. Instead, they emphasize that California’s communities are disproportionately impacted by both economic transition and toxic pollution, and that the Legislature and Governor must urgently address the intersecting crises of the climate crisis and public health crisis caused by drilling for fossil fuels.
The measure was included in the Five Climate Pillars that Governor Newsom presented to the California Legislature on August 12.
Tefere Gebre, long-time labor and immigrant rights activist and current Greenpeace USA Chief Program Officer, said: “We know we can’t prosper on a dead planet. Yet fossil fuel industry voices repeatedly use baseless claims about job destruction to scare legislators in an effort to preserve their profits, despite knowing that setbacks can protect public health, communities, and workers simultaneously.”
Gebre continued: “As an immigrant and refugee, I have first hand experience living in the communities that are being disproportionately impacted by economic transition and toxic pollution. These communities – mostly Black, Latinx, immigrant, and Indigenous communities – are on the frontlines of the climate disaster we have and continue to create on our planet. We all have a moral responsibility to partner with the impacted communities to create new and fresh approaches to the challenges we face today.”
Nayamin Martinex, Executive Director of the Central California Environmental Justice Network and long time public health leader, said: “Environmental justice communities have been asking for setbacks for years because we know firsthand the consequences of living near oil and gas extraction sites.The millions of Californians who live within the proposed 3,200ft setback zone, some with oil and gas derricks on their own fence lines, will be watching the legislature closely and calling on them to support the Governor’s proposal to see who truly supports environmental justice in California, and who will sell our health to Big Oil.”
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 www.greenpeace.org/usa.