Oil companies are using COVID-19 to push for rollbacks of critical environmental and public health protections. We cannot let this happen. Five million Californians live within one mile of active oil wells and are exposed to their toxic and carcinogenic pollution.
CalGEM, the California Geologic Energy Management Division, has been assigned a “recently strengthened mission to protect public health, safety, and the environment” and is in the process of shaping new rules concerning public health and oil drilling. It will present its recommended rules later in the year when we will have an additional opportunity to provide public comment. During this early scoping period, however, it is crucial that we make the case for the strongest regulations possible to protect public health and safety.
The agency assures us that the “rulemaking will . . . consider the best available science and data to inform new and strengthened protective requirements” for communities living near oil and gas production operations. But let’s not forget that on April 3rd, they went ahead at the height of a pandemic and issued 24 new fracking permits.
Written comments can be sent via email to: CalGEMRegulations@conservation.ca.gov, or by postal mail to:
Department of Conservation
801 K Street, MS 24-02
Sacramento, CA 95814
ATTN: Public Health near Oil Gas Rulemaking
Here is some language that you can personalize. Feel free to add our local story:
For decades, California’s oil industry has been given a blank check to drill for health-threatening fossil fuels in the center of our communities, in our backyards, on school campuses and next to our parks. Over five million Californians living within a mile of an active oil well are exposed to carcinogenic chemicals, asthma attack-inducing emissions, and the threat of catastrophic accidents or explosions.
While California claims to be a leader on climate action, California’s Governor and state regulators allowed the oil industry to sacrifice entire communities—with disproportionate impacts concentrated in low-income communities of color.
Every day, frontline communities across California continue to be exposed to toxic chemicals and emissions from the oil wells and refineries next door. Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) must establish rules to protect public health from the impacts of oil and gas extraction.
I urge Governor Newsom and CalGEM to phase out oil production in exposed communities by creating a 2,500-foot health-and-safety buffer zone between fossil-fuel infrastructure and homes, schools and other sensitive sites.
CalGEM has just added a way to provide comment via Online survey:
Go to: surveymonkey.com/r/calgem-publichealth. Answer two questions to provide your rulemaking input.
And via anonymous instant polling:
Indicate the issues you feel most strongly about using keywords. Go to: sift.ly then enter passcode: calgem
o Tuesday, June 9, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.