The Oil and Gas Pollution Accountability Act (SB 556) by Senator Lena Gonzalez Held by Senate Appropriations Committee
Sacramento, Calif. – On May 18, 2023, Senator Lena Gonzalez’s (D-Long Beach) SB 556, The Oil and Gas Pollution Accountability Act, to hold oil and gas companies accountable for the health harms they cause in communities, was held in the Senate Appropriations Committee, meaning the bill will not be advancing through the legislative process this year. Under SB 556, oil and gas companies would have been presumptively liable for causing cancer, asthma, preterm and high-risk births for people living within 3,200 feet of an oil well.
“Today’s decision in the Appropriations Committee on the fate of SB 556, The Oil and Gas Pollution Accountability Act, is extremely disappointing. Over 7 million people in California live within a mile of oil and gas wells, and nearly 2.2 million within 2,500 feet. Many of those affected by the toxic chemicals emitted by oil drilling pollution are people of color and low-income communities.
Today, we missed a key opportunity to advance legislation that would hold polluters accountable and prevent further harm to families who are just trying to stay healthy and have a better quality of life.
But today’s decision does not mean we stop here. The over 130 organizations who signed on in support of this bill, and the millions of voices in need of change will be heard. We will keep fighting for a future in which families can live healthy lives, free of pollution from greedy corporations,” said Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach).
“Oil and gas wells have plagued our marginalized California communities for far too long, and it is past due for these owners and operators to take responsibility for the health harms they have caused California residents. We strongly believe in Senator’s Gonzalez’s bill, and we are very disappointed in the Appropriations Committee’s failure to pass SB 556. Our communities deserve to live in an environment that does not give them cancer, pregnancy complications, or respiratory issues, and this bill would have moved us toward that reality,” said Kayla Karimi, Staff Attorney, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment.
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. Website of Senator Lena Gonzalez: www.sen.ca.gov/gonzalez
The Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment (CRPE) is a national environmental justice organization providing legal, organizing, and technical assistance to grassroots groups in low-income communities and communities of color.