Action #1: Call Governor Newsom and tell him to stop all fracking permits now!
For the first time since last summer, CA’s oil and gas regulators CA Geologic Energy Management Division, or CalGEM, has issued permits for fracking – to Aera Energy, a joint venture of Shell and ExxonMobil, for “well stimulation” for 24 Aera wells in two Kern County oil fields.
In a bizarre twist considering how this type of expensive drilling operation affects air quality and human health, the Aera spokeswoman Cindy Pollard stated “These permits come at an especially critical time as the nation is dealing with a public health crisis unlike anything before.”
Why do we still have fracking?: In 2019, Governor Newsom imposed a moratorium on new permits for both hydraulic fracturing and steam-injected oil drilling after a massive petroleum spill in Kern County. He also fired officials of the state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) who were issuing fracking permits at twice the rate they did under Gov. Jerry Brown. However, Newsom’s powers to stop this process may be limited to emergency situations. He stated “Legally, the governor of California cannot do that (stop fracking). I explored that during my transition. What we have done is we fired the person responsible for signing those permits at DOGGR, and I’ll be appointing a replacement that shares my values and not the values that were expressed in his actions.”
Well, we have an emergency now, a pandemic, most likely reoccurring, that targets the lungs, the area most affected by fracking’s pollution. Fracking’s impacts “include coughs, shortness of breath, airway and lung inflammation, decreased lung function, worsening of asthma and other respiratory diseases, cardiac arrhythmia, increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, increased hospital admissions and premature mortality.” Since fracking takes place in poor and minority communities, they are the ones who are most likely to be affected by air pollution, and therefore more susceptible to the effects by COVID-19.
Stopping fracking will need to be a concerted effort from both our governor,and our state’s elected officials.
Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Assemblymember/State Senator [___] to ban the practice of fracking in CA. Fracking causes know health risks that increases people’s danger of dying of COVID-19.
Minimal script for Governor Newsom: You imposed a moritorium on permits for fracking and steam-injected oil drilling before. Do it again and rescind the fracking permits. We are in the middle of a long-term pandemic that kills people with the very health issues that these industries create with their air pollution.
State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (SD-19):SAC (916) 651-4019, SB (805) 965-0862, OX (805)988-1940 email
State Assemblymember Monique Limón (CA-37): SAC (916) 319-2037, SB (805) 564-1649, VTA (805) 641-3700 email
Action #2: Challenge – Examine your use of material resources and make at least one change!
This is a very strange Earth Day. No gathering in our downtown park, no speeches or sharing of information and inspiration. Yet, interesting things are happening because of the pandemic. Animals are taking over our cities, and people are rediscovering lower-resource ways to live, like cooking at home and gardening for food.
Last year’s news that China was no longer taking in America’s castoff plastic made us take a long- overdue look at our serious seltzer water habit. We were using hundreds of bottles a year! We switched to a home carbonating system, and now use our own tap water, rechargable cartridges and the same bottles, over and over.
Now, COVID-19’s simultaneous requirement to dry hands on single-use towels, combined with the sudden inability to purchase paper towels, inspired us to put our collection of washable dinner napkins into a basket near the sink.
What about you? Have you and your family have recently made changes to reduce resource use? Send us a pic at email@example.com.
EARTH DAY TIPS from earthday.org:
- Join Earth Day Network’s campaign to Protect Our Species.
- Join Earth Day Network’s campaign to End Plastic Pollution.
- Plant a tree or donate a tree through our Canopy Project.
- Join Earth Day Network’s campaign to create Foodprints for the Future.
- Join a local park, river or beach clean-up. Check out Ventura County Coastal Cleanup Day.
- Use environmentally-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products.
- Replace inefficient incandescent light bulbs with efficient CFLs or LEDs. Reduce your carbon footprint by 450 pounds a year.
- Carpool, ride your bike, use public transportation or drive an electric or hybrid car. Reduce your carbon footprint by one pound for every mile you do not drive.
- Keep your tires properly inflated and get better gas mileage. Reduce your carbon footprint 20 pounds for each gallon of gas saved.
- Change your car’s air filter regularly.
- Teleconference instead of traveling. If you fly five times per year, those trips are likely to account for 75% of your personal carbon footprint.
- Stop using disposable plastics, especially single-use plastics like bottles, bags and straws.
- Recycle paper, plastic and glass. Reduce your garbage by 10% and your carbon footprint by 1,200 pounds a year.
- Donate your old clothes and home goods instead of throwing them out. When you need something, consider buying used items.
- Use cloth towels instead of paper ones.
- Change your paper bills to online billing. You’ll be saving trees and the fuel it takes to deliver your bills by truck.
- Read documents online instead of printing them.
- When you need to use paper, make sure it’s 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
- Set your office printer to print two-sided.
- Collect used printer, fax, and copier cartridges to recycle.
- Convince your school district or office building to choose reusable utensils, trays, and dishes in the cafeteria.
- Use reusable bottles for water, and reusable mugs for coffee.
- Bring reusable bags when you shop.
- Pack your lunch in a reusable bag.
- Organize to have healthy, locally-sourced food served at in your school district.
- Buy local food to reduce the distance from farm to fork. Buy straight from the farm, frequent your local farmers’ market, or join a local food co-op.
- Buy organic food to keep your body and the environment free of toxic pesticides. Support farmers and companies who use organic ingredients.
- Grow your own organic garden, or join a farm-share group.
- Reduce your meat consumption to curb carbon emissions from the livestock industry.
- Compost kitchen scraps for use in your garden — turning waste into fertilizer.
- Take a shorter shower and use a water-saving shower head.
- Fix leaky faucets and shower-heads.
- Run your dishwasher only when it’s full to save water and energy.
- Conserve water outdoors by only watering your lawn in the early morning or late at night. Use drought-resistant plants in dry areas.
- Wash your clothes only when necessary, use cold water and line dry.
- Form a “green team” at your office to find cost-effective ways to conserve resources and promote sustainability.
- Volunteer for a local environmental group and/or make a donation.
- Pull out invasive plants in your yard or garden and replace them with native ones.
- Turn off and unplug electronics you’re not using. This includes turning off your computer at night.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room.
- Install solar panels on your roof.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator to save energy (and get exercise!).
- Move your heater thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in the summer to reduce your carbon footprint by 2,000 pounds.
- Lower the temperature on your water heater.
- Contact your utility company and find out about renewable energy options.
- Use energy-efficient appliances and electronics.
- Recycle batteries from small appliances and your electronics. Use rechargeable batteries instead!
- Choose sustainable. Learn how to make smart seafood choices at www.fishwatch.gov.