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Newsom administration announces new protections for Californians living near oil and gas drilling

by Katie Nelson

October 21, 2021

"This success belongs to the frontline communities and environmental justice groups who for years have implored our lawmakers to end dangerous neighborhood drilling."

Wilmington, California — Today, the Newsom administration took its initial step in banning the permitting of new oil and gas wells within 3,200 feet of homes, schools, hospitals, and other sensitive sites. The draft rule pushes forward a directive made by Governor Newsom nearly two years ago to take action on dangerous fossil fuel extraction in California’s neighborhoods.

In response, Greenpeace USA co-Executive Director Annie Leonard said: 

“Governor Newsom’s momentous announcement today opens the door to a better future for millions of Californians living near harmful oil and gas extraction. This success belongs to the frontline communities and environmental justice groups who for years have implored our lawmakers to end dangerous neighborhood drilling. It’s now essential that both regulators and Governor Newsom see these precedent-setting pollution protections across the finish line and remain steadfast in the face of oil and gas executives intent on weakening it. 

“While we applaud his leadership, Governor Newsom still has plenty left to do to chart a fossil free future. As he deals with record-breaking fires and a toxic oil spill, and as he prepares to take the global stage at the UN climate talks in Glasgow, the Governor must make good on his commitment to build a just and fossil free future. Halting new drilling and putting forth a plan to support workers and communities in the transition off fossil fuels is the only way to get there.”

Neena Mohan, Climate Justice Manager with the California Environmental Justice Alliance, said:

“After years of delay, we are encouraged by this announcement from the Newsom administration, which sends a strong signal that oil and gas has no place in neighborhoods. We’re ready to carry this rule home and make sure it actually accomplishes what we need it to accomplish: the end of neighborhood oil and gas drilling. If the final rule doesn’t do that, then it’s not enough. 

“Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian immigrant communities deserve neighborhoods free from air, water and soil pollution. We know today’s announcement of a 3,200-foot setback for frontline communities is just a first, critical step. Oil and gas executives won’t let neighborhood oil drilling end without a fight  — and we’ll keep fighting for working people until every person’s right to clean air in every neighborhood is guaranteed.” 

This announcement follows 40,000 public comments urging the governor to adopt strong protections as well as polling shows that Californians overwhelmingly support a strong setback distance from oil and gas operations. A 60-day comment period formally begins today in response to the draft rule.

Notes:

The full draft rule is available here

Contact:

Katie Nelson, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (678) 6744-1681, [email protected] 

Katie Nelson

By Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson is a Senior Communications Specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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