Newsom rolls back pollution regulations amidst heatwaves, electricity blackouts

by Katie Nelson

August 18, 2020

Greenpeace responds to rolling energy blackouts during statewide heatwave

Sacramento, California — Today, after California endured its first rolling electricity blackouts in almost two decades, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he would temporarily ease air pollution regulations to “free up more electricity supplies” for the state. As a part of Monday’s announcement, Newsom pressed for an investigation into the electricity shut offs, calling them “unacceptable,” after a record-breaking heat wave hammered the region this weekend. These remarks come nearly a year after PG&E’s initial blackouts which the utility claims will mitigate wildfire hazards.

In response, Greenpeace USA Senior Climate Campaigner Caroline Henderson said:

“Last year, we saw how PG&E’s electricity shut offs posed a serious threat to public health and safety  for many Californians — including those in hospitals, the elderly, and others dependent on medical equipment. The blackouts this past weekend, instituted during an unprecedented heat wave when access to electricity can be a life-or-death situation, are both unacceptable and incredibly dangerous for communities across the state. Newsom should indeed be investigating these power cuts, and also must begin laying the foundation for a just and green response to future crises — one that doesn’t require rolling back air pollution rules that disproportionately impact Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income communities.

“As California experiences record-breaking heatwaves and devastating wildfires, we need to move away from fossil fuels that further endanger public health and fuel climate disruption, and instead invest in a new, just, safe, and equitable energy system. We must remind Governor Newsom that it’s well past time to rein in Big Oil, and protect California communities from the energy companies that are putting profit before people and the planet.”


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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