TELL GOV. NEWSOM: PROTECT OUR LUNGS AND FUTURE, STOP FUELING THE FLAMES

California Governor Gavin Newsom

California’s young people are quite literally seeing our futures go up in smoke. Over the last few years, we have watched as extreme wildfires have ravaged California, leaving families and whole communities devastated in their wake. Governor Gavin Newsom has rightly linked the intensity and severity of these fires to the climate emergency. Yet, California continues to produce some of the dirtiest oil in the world and allows drilling to continue in neighborhoods right next to schools, homes, and hospitals, which predominantly harms low-income communities of color.

Join California’s youth climate leaders, tell Gov. Newsom to protect our health and future. We are calling on him to:

1.   Stop issuing any new permits for oil and gas drilling in California -- immediately;

2.   Roll out statewide 2,500-foot health-and-safety buffer zones between fossil fuel infrastructure and homes, schools and other sensitive sites; and

3.   Begin phasing out existing fossil fuel production with a just and equitable transition that protects workers, communities and economies.

Despite declaring that “this is a climate damn emergency,” and agreeing to examine pathways to phase out fossil fuels by 2045 (which is a significant step forward but is still far too late), Gov. Newsom has allowed fossil fuel companies to continue more toxic drilling, burning and polluting, primarily in low-income communities of color.

As young people, we cannot stand by while our Governor allows Big Oil to condemn our future to more extreme fires, megadroughts, heatwaves, floods, and disruption. But the Governor also has an opportunity to show true climate leadership. It is still within his power to accelerate the transition off fossil fuel production, stop issuing new fossil fuel permits, and roll out 2500ft health and safety buffer zones today.

Our future and health are on the line, and we need the Governor to act like it.

Act now to urge Gov. Newsom to #GiveUsBackOurFuture.

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To: California Governor Gavin Newsom
From: [Your Name]

Dear Governor Gavin Newsom,

As a young Californian watching the climate crisis play out in real time, I am living in a state of fear and anger about what my future may hold. But I am also holding onto hope that you will do the right thing and be the true climate leader we need you to be. As such, I am urging you to immediately stop issuing new oil and gas permits and begin phasing out fossil fuels in California.

As you have said, the horrific, extreme wildfires that have ravaged California communities are fueled by climate change, which has made them more severe and more intense. Nevertheless, you have approved thousands of oil permits since you took office. If we are to avert the most catastrophic climate damages, the vast majority of fossil fuels have to stay in the ground. But with each new well approval you allow oil companies to do just the opposite.

Many of these fossil fuel permits were approved in the middle of a deadly pandemic, despite research showing that people living in areas with worse air pollution are more likely to die from COVID-19. In addition to the increased impact on at-risk communities during the pandemic, numerous studies show that oil drilling in California contributes to serious health problems such as underweight births, asthma, respiratory illnesses and cancer.

For too long, oil and gas companies have treated communities of color as sacrifice zones. Issuing more permits for drilling in these areas only reproduces the systemic racism we all oppose.

You have made some exciting announcements about banning fracking, exploring pathways to end fossil fuel production by 2045, and making progress on electric vehicles. Despite this important progress, none of these go nearly far enough to curb production of fossil fuels or protect communities from oil pollution here in California on a timeline aligned with the best climate science.

As governor of a major world economy and one of the largest oil-producing states in the country, you have the power to change course and usher in a just and thriving future for all Californians.

I'm urging you to live up to the promises you've made, be a climate leader, and use your executive authority to:

1) Stop issuing any new permits for oil and gas drilling in California -- immediately;
2) Roll out statewide 2,500-foot health-and-safety buffer zones between fossil fuel infrastructure and homes, schools and other sensitive sites; and
3) Begin phasing out existing fossil fuel production with a just and equitable transition that protects workers, communities, and economies.

Don't betray my generation. Please be the leader we need and stop fueling the climate crisis. California’s youth call on you to protect our future and act on our demands today.