LCA Ban Fracking Petition

Governor Gavin Newsom

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Reversing his long held position that he would ban fracking, Governor Newsom has surprisingly issued 48 new fracking permits in the past few months that could amount to over 350 frack jobs. Our governor's green-lighting of fracking will cause air and water pollution, and poison Black and Brown communities, already at greater risk from COVID-19. Adding insult to injury, recent studies now indicate that the kinds of pollution these toxic extraction sites produce is the same kind of pollution that makes people more susceptible to getting Covid.

This is nothing less than a health crisis disproportionately distributed along racial lines with already impacted communities suffering from pollution and Covid, getting more cases of Covid because of their exposures to the pollution.  

Because of this, we must speak out quickly and forcefully to address not only Governor Newsom's broken promises, but also these environmentally racist policies as we call on the Governor to, "Walk back the FRACK!"

Take action to deliver this important message to Governor Newsom:  

It's time you
stop treating Black and Brown communities as sacrifice zones while you say you stand for Black and Brown lives.  Say “NO” to fracking, create a just transition plan that prioritizes workers and communities, starting immediately with a 2500 foot health & safety buffer zone around all drilling, and commit to stop issuing permits for oil and gas extraction.

Sponsored by
Forest
Oakland, CA

To: Governor Gavin Newsom
From: Sunflower Alliance

Dear Governor Newsom,

I urge you to ban fracking, begin to phase out oil drilling as a part of a greater just transition plan off of fossil fuels, starting immediately with a 2500 foot health and safety buffer, and commit to stop permitting oil and gas drilling in California.

Notably, you have promised to ban fracking for years, and we were encouraged when you issued a temporary fracking moratorium last November. However, that fracking moratorium was short-lived as you simply used the opportunity to delegate the responsibility to frack California to another government agency, washing your hands of the decision as they greenlighted the process. Now, your administration has permitted 48 new fracking permits: 36 to Aera Energy and 12 to Chevron. These new permits disproportionately impact communities of color in California and threaten water, public health, our food supply, and the climate.

These new permits could not come at a worse time. They land in the middle of a global health pandemic, despite research indicating that communities with worse air pollution are more likely to die from Coronavirus, and despite California taxpayer-funded studies which recommended human health buffer zones around all oil drilling to stop health impacts such as asthma, respiratory illnesses, and cancer.

Indeed, in response to the police killing of George Floyd, you spoke forcefully about the need to fight systemic racism in California. At the same time, your administration quietly issued additional fracking permits that will further decades of unequal protections and regulatory failures in California that have concentrated the health risks of oil operations in Black and Brown communities. Your administration’s most recent set of permits, issued before the 4th of July weekend, comes just as California experiences its largest wave of COVID-19 cases to date. New research shows that Black and Latinx people are twice as likely to die from the virus than white individuals.

Historically, Black, Brown, and low-income communities in California have been treated as sacrifice zones by oil and gas corporations, putting them at higher risk of asthma and other diseases. This is because Californians living on the front lines of fossil fuel extraction are majority communities of color; 92 percent of people who live a half-mile from an oil and gas well are not white.

It’s important at this crucial moment in history to recognize the deeper fractures of racism, one of which is environmental racism, where communities of color and low-income communities experience disproportionate stresses and health impacts because historically, polluting facilities are most-often sited in these communities. Continuing fracking, or allowing any oil and gas drilling nearby where people live, especially during this pandemic, perpetuates a historically racist and unfair environmental legacy that you, as California’s leader, must urgently address. If you say Black and Brown lives matter, Governor, then we’re going to expect that statement to be reflected in your policies; currently, it is not.

I am further concerned by the latest revelation that Aera’s lobbyists, Jason Kinney and Kevin Schmid, are former advisors and policy directors to the Newsom administration. These close ties are particularly troubling when considering that Aera was the first to receive new permits, particularly given DOGGR’s shady track record and conflicts of interest.

While these fracking permits contradict your campaign promises, they aren’t the only trend causing alarm. Under your leadership, CalGEM issued 1,623 drilling permits during the first quarter of 2020. The total number of permits issued under since you took office in January 2019 is 6,168.

Your actions speak louder than words. Dismantling systemic racism and protecting public health includes banning fracking, a just transition plan to phase out drilling starting with an immediate 2,500 foot public health and safety buffer between drilling sites and impacted communities, and a commitment to stop new oil and gas well permits for the sake of future generations. Approving fracking permits, as well as allowing oil and gas wells to continue operating next to schools and homes is perpetuating environmental racism, full stop.

As Governor of a major world economy and the sixth largest oil producing state in the country, you have the power to usher in a just and thriving future for all Californians, and demonstrate to the rest of the country what true leadership on public health, as well as racial justice looks like.

Specifically, I ask you to use your broad executive authority to:

1) Stop issuing new permits for fracking in California with an Executive Order to ban fracking.

2) Begin to usher in a fair and just transition for workers and communities, starting immediately with a 2500-foot health and safety buffer zone, as we move to a 100% renewable energy economy in California by 2030.

3) Commit to phasing out drilling altogether for the sake of current and future generations.

4) Put the health of our communities first by making the state's response to COVID-19 a downpayment for a regenerative economy, and the beginning of a real Green New Deal.

Sincerely,