Three Actions for Earth Day.

Action #1: UPDATED ACTION – Call Newsom. He needs to do more. – This is a tragedy of leadership and vision.

4/26/2021: New action – email Governor Newsom here: First, thank you for declaring a fracking ban to take place in 2024. That’s a great start. However, we urgently need you to issue an immediate moratorium on new oil and gas permits within 2500′ feet of homes, hospitals, schools, and other sensitive receptors. The science has been clear for years. Adults, children, and even unborn babies are injured by their close proximity to oil and gas industry installations. That we allow these toxic sites near enough to harm people is a reflection of our long and shameful indifference to low-income and minority communities. 2500′ is the bare minimum to escape some of the most serious health effects and our state is behind the curve on this issue. Mandatory minimum distances between oil & gas extraction sites and homes, schools, and hospitals are already law in Idaho, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, New Mexico, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, Colorado, and Texas. Please state that all Californians are worthy of this basic health protection, as well.

  • (Environmentalhealthproject) Pregnant women and fracking: A case for special concern.
  • (Stanfordnews) Living near oil and gas wells may increase preterm birth risk, according to Stanford research
  • (environmentAmerica) Report: Children and the elderly at risk from “dangerous and close” fracking
  • (fractracker.org) Impact of a 2500′ oil and gas well setback in California.
  • (denverpost.com) Does living near an oil and gas well increase your risk of cancer? A new Colorado study says yes.
  • (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) Impact of upstream oil extraction and environmental public health: a review of the evidence

Update – News from the legislative front on SB 467.

We failed to secure Senator Eggman’s vote by the end of last week, and as a result, SB 467 will not be able to move forward this year. VISION advocates still see the bill as a success. The bill called for a fracking ban and a managed decline of oil and gas extraction in California. On Friday, the governor announced a fracking ban forthcoming from CalGEM and that CARB would begin planning for a managed decline. With SB 467, we changed the conversation and made that announcement possible. We now have a public process that we can use to protect our communities in the ambitious project of phasing out all oil and gas drilling in the state.

Many are disappointed in the governor’s announcement, which delays the managed decline to 2045, delays the fracking ban to 2024 or 2025, and leaves unaddressed setbacks and environmental racism. VISION shares those concerns, particularly the latter. At the same time, local fights benefit from statewide progress, and Kern County doesn’t get many big wins against oil and gas. Just last month, Kern passed an ordinance greenlighting tens of thousands new oil and gas wells with minimal environmental review. A statewide plan to move in the opposite direction over the next two and a half decades—with the opportunity to intervene and accelerate that timeframe—is a powerful step in the right direction, despite its imperfections, and we are celebrating even as we chart the way forward to end neighborhood drilling.

We now turn our attention to setbacks, emboldened by our win yet frustrated that, once again, communities of color have been told to wait as the state addresses climate change without addressing the inequities that our extractive systems have wrought. We are calling on the governor to issue a moratorium on new oil and gas permits within 2500 feet of homes, hospitals, schools, and other sensitive receptors, and we welcome your voices joining ours in that call. 

Original posts here and here.

Action #2: Tell your federal legislators to invest in infrastructure & create green jobs – The American Jobs Act.

(NextGen) This Earth Day, we’re asking our community to advocate for the American Jobs Plan, an ambitious piece of legislation that will spur historic investments in clean energy jobs.

If passed, the American Jobs Plan would be one of the most significant pieces of climate legislation in U.S. history — and we have the power to pressure Congress to ensure the final bill is bold enough to meet the moment. 

The coming weeks will determine the details of the final version of the bill, and we can’t allow Republicans and corporate interests to water this down. Help us keep up the pressure on the Democratic majority to go big on revitalizing our infrastructure and creating clean energy jobs.

Minimal email script: I want Sen./Rep. [___] to support the American Jobs Plan, to not only transform our nation’s infrastructure, both built and human, but to create clean energy job and safer utilities. We need these points to get into the bill:

  • Create a new Civilian Climate Corps to train and hire thousands to restore public lands and improve climate resilience for frontline communities
  • Accelerate decarbonization by implementing a national clean energy standard to get us to 100 percent carbon-free power by 2035
  • Replace all lead pipes and service lines to ensure everyone has access to safe drinking water
  • Eliminate tax subsidies for fossil fuel corporations and make polluters pay to clean up their messes
  • Retrofit and construct houses, businesses, and public buildings to enhance energy efficiency
  • Incentivize electric vehicles by boosting rebates and tax credits for consumers and expanding charging stations nationwide

Contacts

  • Rep. Julia Brownley: email(CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Action #3: The House passed HR 803: Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act (PAW+). Talk to your senators.

H.R. 803 – Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act (PAW+), is a bipartisan package which builds upon legislation previously passed in the 116th Congress and includes provisions protecting landscapes in Arizona, California, Colorado and Washington. It’s a collection of eight public lands bills spanning 2.7 million acres and more than 1,000 miles of Wild and Scenic rivers. We saw Trump and his Interior Dept. henchmen tear our public lands apart for the use of extractive industries. We need a law like this to protect our natural heritage for generations.

Minimal Script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Sen. [__] to fully support H.R. 803, which will advance the goal of conserving 30 percent of the nation’s land and waters by 2030, preserve endangered species and ecosystems, and encourage a strong outdoor recreation economy by providing new opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, motorized vehicle use, horseback riding, camping, hunting, and fishing.

Contacts

  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com

MORE INFORMATION: The legislation includes:

  • The Grand Canyon Protection Act: The Grand Canyon Protection Act makes permanent an existing 20-year mineral withdrawal, which prohibits new mining claims on approximately one million acres of public lands around Grand Canyon National Park and was enacted by the Department of the Interior in 2012. Uranium mining has for decades polluted waters and harmed the health and welfare of Tribal communities and threatens the land, water, and wildlife that make the Grand Canyon so extraordinary. The value of the Greater Grand Canyon to the American people and to future generations is dependent upon preservation of the functioning ecosystem, the hydrological connections of the many seeps and springs feeding the Colorado River, and habitats and connective corridors for native species. These factors also contribute directly to the health of the greater Grand Canyon region and to the considerable tourism-based economy of the region. This bill would permanently protect this iconic landscape for generations to come.
  • Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act: The Northwest California Wilderness Recreation and Working Forests Act would protect 260,000 acres of wilderness and 379 miles of wild and scenic rivers. This section creates a 730,000-acre restoration area to protect and restore forests, including ancient redwood forests, and improve water quality while reducing fire risks. It also establishes a partnership of federal, state and local entities to coordinate restoration of public lands damaged by illegal marijuana cultivation. Finally, the proposal helps build a strong outdoor recreation economy by providing new opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, motorized vehicle use, horseback riding, camping, hunting, and fishing.
  • Central Coast Heritage Protection Act: (H.R. 973 was sponsored by Rep. Salud Carbajal)The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act would protect some of central California’s most scenic and spectacular lands and watersheds and would ensure that a key part of California’s wild heritage remains intact. Specifically, this section would designate nearly 245,000 acres of wilderness and would add 159 miles of creeks and rivers to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. This section would also establish the Condor National Recreation Trail and designate nearly 35,000 acres in two National Scenic Areas. Together, these designations would protect landscapes that sustain abundant recreation opportunities as well as iconic species like the California condor and southern steelhead trout. 
  • San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act: The San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act would expand protections for the Angeles National Forest, which accounts for 70% of Los Angeles County’s open space, and establish a new San Gabriel National Recreation Area to enhance recreational opportunities for park poor communities. This section expands the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by 109,143 acres and adds 31,069 acres of wilderness and 45.5 miles of wild and scenic rivers. These places are home to many rare and endangered species such as the Nelson Bighorn Sheep and the Santa Ana Sucker. The nearly 50,000-acre National Recreation Area would establish a role for the National Park Service to work with local partners in providing education and enhancing connections to recreational opportunities along the foothills and the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo Rivers.
  • Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act: The Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act would expand the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by approximately 191,000 acres to include the area known as the Rim of the Valley Corridor. This boundary expansion would include critical wildlife corridors between the Santa Monica Mountain range in the West and the San Gabriel Mountains in the East. Additionally, this area is important for its potential to enhance recreational opportunities for over 17 million people living in the communities of the greater Los Angeles region.
  • Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act: The Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act protects important recreation areas and viewsheds in the high central mountains of Colorado, an area seeing intensive population growth, recreation and increasing strain on public lands. The CORE Act includes an Historic Landscape designation for Camp Hale, the base of the 10th Mountain Division, which was integral to mountain combat during World War II and to the birth of the modern ski industry. The bill also includes important areas in the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado, with state landmarks, iconic fourteeners, and popular hiking destinations. It includes the protection of the popular Thompson Divide from energy development concerns, and reflects the overwhelming community consensus for protection, while respecting valid existing rights of oil and gas leaseholders. Lastly, the bill makes long-overdue management clarifications and fixes, such as formalizing the boundary of Curecanti National Recreation Area, as requested by a National Park Service report to congress. This bill is the product of over a decade of intensive locally driven collaboration, compromise and consensus building; a process which has yielded a well vetted and detail-oriented piece of public lands legislation.
  • Colorado Wilderness Act:  The Colorado Wilderness Act would permanently protect more than 600,000 acres of public lands as wilderness. These areas include Redcloud and Handies Peaks – the tallest mountains in the lower 48 under the management of the Bureau of Land Management – as well as some of Browns Canyon National Monument . A recent survey of western Colorado voters found that 68% support designating additional public lands in Colorado as wilderness, and the Colorado Wilderness Act responds to that desire.
  • Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act: The Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act would protect 126,554 acres of the Olympic National Forest as wilderness and would add 464 miles of rivers to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The protections afforded in this section would safeguard the Olympic Peninsula’s clean drinking water, ancient forests, wild and free-flowing rivers and habitat for many wildlife species, including the region’s salmon and steelhead. This section would also protect and expand the world-class outdoor recreation opportunities in the region, an ever-growing sector of Washington’s economy that accounts for $21.6 billion in annual expenditures in Washington State. 

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