| Press Release

California oil industry subverts democracy, delays public health protections

Neighborhood Drilling in Kern County
Oil drilling near a playground in Kern County. Photo via Earthjustice.

SACRAMENTO — This week, the California Independent Petroleum Association announced that it has collected enough signatures to qualify a petition to overturn SB 1137, a law banning new oil drilling within 3,200 feet of sensitive sites like homes, schools, hospitals, and prisons.

In response, The Climate Center CEO Ellie Cohen said:

“Californians overwhelmingly support public health setbacks to protect our communities from toxic oil drilling. The fact that fossil fuel corporations have once again spent millions of dollars to mislead the public and protect their profits makes me sick. We urge Governor Newsom to continue his climate leadership by immediately halting all permits for oil and gas drilling, especially within the 3,200-foot setback zone established by SB 1137.”

If the Secretary of State qualifies the industry’s petition, the issue of neighborhood drilling in California will go before voters in 2024. However, there have been widespread reports of petitioners lying to voters to collect the 623,212 signatures needed to get the referendum to overturn SB 1137 on the 2024 ballot. Filings show oil companies funneled over $20 million as of December 2 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.



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