The California Environmental Justice Alliance is disappointed that the lies paid for by Big Oil prevailed over public health and the fight against climate change. Reducing oil dependence directly benefits low-income communities and communities of color. Our communities are paying for price of politics with our health; petroleum related pollution ends up in the lungs of low-income communities and communities of color living near refineries and freeways, who are predominately people of color.
We know the continued leadership of Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León will bring environmental justice communities much needed relief from the asthma and cancer inflicted by burning oil.
We are particularly disappointed in the stranglehold that Big Oil has over certain legislators who come from districts who would have directly benefitted from the public health improvements that the oil reduction brings. For decision-makers who represent these constituents – residents in places such as South East Los Angeles, Wilmington, San Joaquin Valley, Richmond, East Oakland, Inland Valley, and many more – to succumb to the lies and fear-mongering of the oil industry instead of championing the health and long-term well being of the people they serve is unconscionable.
Despite the removal of an oil reduction target, SB 350 contains important steps forward that will help clean the air and fight climate change: both the expanded renewable portfolio standard and the energy efficiency targets will build out more clean, equitable energy use and production in California and help our state start transitioning off dirty fossil fuels.
We look forward to working with legislators who want to see climate policy truly benefit and protect low-income communities and communities of color on future measures to reduce fossil fuel use, clean the air, and improve health in overburdened communities.