The oil companies have succeeded in stalling efforts to reduce the harm they’re doing to California communities.
Last September, Governor Newsom signed SB 1137, which requires a 3,200-foot health and safety setback around both new and reworked existing oil wells. This legislation bans all drilling within a kilometer of homes, schools, or hospitals—improving the health of more than 2.7 million Californians.
But oil and gas companies have forced the state to put the law on hold until the 2024 election. To get the law on the ballot, they filed a referendum with the CA Attorney General’s office and mounted a 20-million-dollar campaign, paying petition circulators to collect signatures supporting the referendum. Widespread reports say petition signers were misinformed that signing would help protect communities from oil drilling—although the opposite is true.
On February 3, the California Secretary of State announced that enough signatures had been certified to get the referendum on the ballot as a proposition. So, in the next election, voters will decide the fate of SB 1137. One more reason to get out the vote in 2024!