Local Officials Urge Governor to Halt Drilling Permits

Gov. Jerry Brown recently made headlines for announcing what is perhaps the most ambitious clean energy goal ever embraced by a state. But a number of politicians and environmental advocates say they want to see more from the governor -- much more -- to combat climate change.

250 local government officials, including representatives from 5 counties and 14 cities, have now sent a letter urging him to stop issuing permits for new oil and gas wells.

Despite tough talk on global warming and clean energy, Brown’s environmental critics say oil has been a blind spot for the governor. They’re calling for a complete phase-out of oil and gas drilling to protect public health and combat climate change.

“The Governor says that no state has done more on climate change,” said Culver City Vice Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells, who co-chairs the group Elected Officials to Protect California. “Tell that to the 5.4 million Californians that live with a mile of oil and gas wells, including in my community, breathing poisoned air from dirty drilling.”

“Governor Brown has been a global champion for climate action, and now we need him to be our champion for California,” said San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “We’re joining with hundreds of elected officials across California calling on Governor Brown to start phasing out oil and gas production in order to protect our public health and communities.”

The letter follows the rousing Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco last week.

“This summit brought the clear message that leaders everywhere must pledge to do everything to keep fossil fuels in the ground,” said Oxnard Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez. “Half measures won’t get us where we desperately need to be to protect the future.”

The governor’s team rejects the notion that he’s guilty of half measures. As Brown’s spokesman notes, oil production in California has dropped 56 percent.

Read more about the officials’ calls at the Press Democrat and read the group’s press release here