Legislators and Community Advocates Celebrate Historic Legislation Passed in the State Legislature to End Neighborhood Oil and Gas Drilling, Marking a Significant New Milestone in Environmental Justice
Sacramento, Calif. – On August 31, 2022, Senator Lena A. Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), Senator Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) and community advocates celebrated the successful passage of SB 1137 in the State Legislature. SB 1137 would require health and safety buffer zones of 3,200 ft between new and reworked oil wells and sensitive receptors such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes, and strengthen protections for people living near existing oil wells. Over 2.7 million Californians live within 3,200 feet of an operational oil or gas well and over 90% of these homes are people of color. The legislation is the result of years of on-the-ground advocacy by community groups who have fought for setbacks to protect the health of Californians and marks a significant milestone in achieving environmental justice for pollution burdened communities.
“I am truly overjoyed and thankful to all the strong community advocates and my colleagues in the Legislature who have supported SB 1137, to help protect the health of our frontline communities," said Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach). “This is a historic victory! It brings hope and strengthens our conviction as a State to reach our climate goals and fight for what is right for the people of California. Ensuring that our communities stay healthy, and protected from toxic emissions that cause cancer, respiratory illness, pre-term births and other health complications should always be a priority. Now, SB 1137 is headed to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law, and I urge the Governor to stand with our frontline communities to end neighborhood drilling and create a healthier, more just, and livable future for all.”
“This is a historic moment in California history, and I am beyond grateful to lead this effort with my colleague Senator Gonzalez,” said Senator Limón (D-Santa Barbara). “For too long our dependency on the oil industry has impacted the health and safety of California families, especially our children and communities who live near oil and gas wells. This policy will not only protect Californians, it will rectify long standing injustices for the communities who have borne the brunt of our dependency on fossil fuels.”
“This is a victory for every single family and every single frontline community in California that has been fighting Big Oil’s drilling in our backyards for decades and pushing for setbacks for years. Now, we urge the Governor to end California’s legacy of environmental racism and stand with the nearly three million Californians against neighborhood drilling by signing SB 1137 immediately,” said Kobi Naseck, Coalition Coordinator, VISIÓN (Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods).
Senator Gonzalez represents the 33rd Senate District, which includes the City of Long Beach and portions of South Los Angeles and Southeast Los Angeles including the cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lakewood, Lynwood, Maywood, Paramount, Signal Hill, and South Gate. Senator Gonzalez lives in Long Beach with her family.
Monique Limón represents the 19th Senate District, which includes Santa Barbara, Ventura, Goleta, Buellton, Carpinteria, Guadalupe, Lompoc, Santa Maria, Solvang, Camarillo, Fillmore, Ojai, Oxnard, Santa Paula, and Port Hueneme. She currently serves as the Chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee.
VISIÓN (Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods) is a coalition of environmental justice, frontline, and public health community based organizations in Kern and Los Angeles Counties that formed with the goal of ending neighborhood oil and gas drilling.