| Press Release

Oil corporations spend millions of dollars to block California public health law

Photo by Earthjustice.

SAN FRANCISCO — Late last week, the California Secretary of State’s office announced that it has certified the oil industry-backed referendum challenging SB 1137. The law, passed last year, would have prohibited new oil drilling within 3,200 feet of sensitive sites like homes, schools, hospitals, and prisons. The referendum will go before voters on the 2024 ballot, delaying the implementation of SB 1137 by at least another year. 

In response, The Climate Center’s Energy Program Manager Woody Hastings said:

“Californians overwhelmingly support public health setbacks to protect our communities from toxic oil drilling. It’s unacceptable that fossil fuel corporations have spent millions of dollars to mislead the public, subvert our democracy, and continue making people sick. We urge Governor Newsom to stand up for environmental justice by immediately halting all new permits for oil and gas drilling, especially within the 3,200-foot setback zone established by SB 1137.”

In recent months, there have been widespread reports of petitioners lying to voters to collect the 623,212 signatures needed to qualify the referendum for the 2024 ballot. Filings show oil companies funneled more than $20 million as of December 2022 to the committee Stop the Energy Shutdown, a coalition including the California Independent Petroleum Association and others.

Additional details on oil industry spending on the referendum, tactics designed to mislead voters, and quotes from community members impacted by neighborhood oil drilling are available via Last Chance Alliance.


Contact: Ryan Schleeter, Communications Director, The Climate Center: ryan@theclimatecenter.org, (415) 342-2386

About The Climate Center: 

The Climate Center is a climate and energy policy nonprofit working to rapidly reduce climate pollution at scale, starting in California. We are a think-tank, do-tank working to turn bold ideas into action for a climate-safe future. Our flagship Climate-Safe California campaign is a unique and comprehensive effort to make California the first state in the nation to reach carbon negative. www.theclimatecenter.org