Statement: Decision to create 3,200 foot health and safety buffer zones near fossil fuel extraction sites is vital for health and safety

Media Contacts

Governor Newsom’s announcement will protect communities

CALPIRG Education Fund

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that a draft rule released by the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) — the state’s oil and gas regulator —  proposes a 3,200-foot health and safety buffer zone near all new oil and gas extraction sites. This mandate is based on the advice from a panel of scientists and public health experts who have called for at least a one kilometer buffer zone to protect communities from harmful pollutants near oil and gas drilling sites.

In response, Environment California Director Laura Deehan 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 risk of asthma, complications during pregnancy and elevated cancer risk. But with this regulation, California will have the strongest safety buffer zone in the country at 3,200 feet.” 

CALPIRG State Director Jenn Engstrom issued the following statement: 

“Today’s announcement is a long-awaited and important step forward. However, setbacks alone are not enough to ensure Californians are protected from dirty oil and gas drilling. We must also stop subsidizing the oil and gas industry, end permitting for new oil and gas extraction and phase out existing oil and gas extraction.

“Across the state we feel the effects of climate change. From rising temperatures to persistent drought, not to mention dangerously poor air quality from wildfires and burning fossil fuels, it’s clear we need to phase out all oil and gas drilling for good.”

CALPIRG Student Board Chair Ria Coen issued the following statement:

“I agree with Governor Newsom; I don’t see oil drilling in California’s future. Oil drilling makes no sense for my generation. We must phase out oil drilling in California as fast as possible, and move toward a clean energy future. I hope that in the not so distant future, the only place kids will be able to see oil rigs is in a museum.”