Statement: California Legislature votes to create nation’s largest health and safety buffer zones around oil and gas extraction sites

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Photo by D Thory |

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California State Legislature passed a bill Wednesday requiring a minimum safe distance of 3,200 feet between oil and gas drilling sites and the places where we live, work, and go to school. The law would ban new drilling within this safety “buffer zone,” as well as set stricter health and safety guidelines for wells that already exist within 3,200 feet of a home, school or business.

Numerous studies have linked proximity to an oil or gas well with negative health outcomes, including an increased risk of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, pregnancy complications and cancer.

Jenn Engstrom, state director of CALPIRG issued the following statement: 

“We’ve known for years that oil drilling is dirty and dangerous; that even ‘routine’ operations have significant health and safety impacts. Oil and gas extraction is happening startlingly close to homes, schools, hospitals and places of worship, leading to increased health risks. But when SB 1137 becomes law, California will have the strongest safety buffer zone in the country at 3,200 feet. Thank you to Sens. Lena Gonzalez and Monique Limon for their leadership.”