Our statement on Governor Newsom's April 23 Executive Actions
Last Friday, two days after Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 467, the fracking ban/buffer bill (that had been our highest priority this year) went down to defeat in its first committee, Governor Newsom directed two of California’s executive agencies to 1) prepare to begin to phase out fracking by 2024, and 2) “analyze pathways” to end oil extraction in California by 2045.
This is gratifying, confusing, and disappointing all at once. Gratifying because FINALLY someone with authority is directly addressing California’s addiction to fossil fuels extraction. Confusing, because until last week, Newsom had protested he had no power to ban fracking. And very, very disappointing because another quarter-century of drilling for oil and gas in California is the last thing the planet needs. We’ve already got more fossil fuels above ground than we can afford to burn without exceeding 1.5 degrees warming.
How shall we respond? We recommend that 350 Silicon Valley members and all Californians contact the Governor and share the following concerns:
Fenceline communities near oil and gas wells in California have suffered long enough with toxic gases and polluted groundwater. We applaud Gov. Newsom for directing the CalGEM agency to phase out fracking by 2024. However, we think wells located within 2,500 feet of homes, schools, day care centers, medical facilities, etc. should be closed down ASAP. CalGEM should expedite its public health rulemaking and move to close down wells within a 2,500 foot buffer zone by the end of 2022 at the latest. California’s vulnerable residents can’t wait.
California’s electrical grid already has abundant solar and wind energy, and a vibrant industry is poised to increase production to meet our future needs. While we thank Gov. Newsom for directing state agencies to begin planning for an end to dirty fossil fuel extraction, the latest data on atmospheric carbon underscores our emergency situation. On April 5, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) measured the highest number ever at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory — 421 ppm of carbon dioxide. In short, we cannot wait until 2045 to end oil extraction — we must end it by 2035 at the latest.
You can send your comments to Gov. Newsom via his website: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/
The 350 Silicon Valley Board of Directors
Cover photo by Zbynek Burival