Boiling Point: Gavin Newsom just promised ‘giant leaps forward’ on climate. Will he follow through?

A group called Elected Officials to Protect California — which has garnered support from more than 300 local politicians — was even more critical, accusing Newsom last week of “shadow dancing” on climate change. The group wants the governor to require 2,500-foot buffer zones around all oil and gas wells, and to accelerate the transition to 100% clean energy.

“I’m proud to serve as Co-Chair of Elected Officials to Protect California, where more than 300 of us signed a letter to him to take action to halt permitting, put safety zones around existing wells and to phase out fossil fuel production once and for all,” said Meghan Sahli-Wells former Culver City Mayor, and current Councilmember, Elected Officials to Protect California Co-Chair. “We delivered the letter to his office in Sacramento on Valentine’s Day, and have yet to receive a response from him personally. The proper response, in my view, is for him to take action on our points. Is it too much to ask to protect the health and wellbeing of Californian citizens with logical steps?”

In September 2020 Los Angeles Times .

“Low-income communities, communities of color, and people with disabilities have long suffered from air pollution caused by vehicle emissions. It’s time for bold leadership. We need mayors and local elected officials to advocate for transportation options that work for the health and needs of every community.”

In July 2020 Urban Mayors Press.

Protesters on both coasts have an idea: calling on Newsom to halt fracking and new drilling, a demand that former Gov. Jerry Brown fended off throughout his environmentally groundbreaking tenure. The dream for environmentalists and scores of elected officials is that Newsom flexes his executive muscle to cut back fossil fuel production — if not an outright extraction ban, then perhaps more stringent requirements that wells be a certain distance from homes and schools (as would have been required by a bill whose death this year was a triumph for both the energy industry and labor).”

In a little over a month, the so-called Green New Deal has won endorsements from more than three dozen sitting or incoming federal lawmakers as Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) makes a high-profile bid to shift debate over climate change toward policy on the scale of the crisis.

On Friday, the effort got a boost from 311 state and local officials. 

Forty-four mayors, 63 county and state legislators and 116 city council members were among the officials from 40 states ― including some top oil and gas producers ― who signed an open letter issuing a sweeping, full-throated call for the phaseout of fossil fuels and adoption of Green New Deal-style climate policies.

As the Green New Deal pioneered by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continues to gain momentum, the plan to wean the U.S. off of fossil fuels has now found support in more than 300 local and state government officials who called for the initiative in an open letter on Friday.

The letter from environmental nonprofit Elected Officials to Protect America and signed by 311 officials from 40 states pointed to extreme weather phenomena exacerbated by climate change that are already affecting communities across the nation and costing billions to manage in their aftermath—dire issues that are only going to worsen as our planet continues to warm.

Recent Press Releases

January 11, 2021

While 2020 was the year climate change finally entered the political spotlight, the momentum had been building for years. The energy revolution is well underway. Over the last decade, the economics of climate change have undergone a radical shift.

Since 2009, the cost of wind power has dropped 71 percent, and the cost of solar power has dropped 90 percent. Since 2010, the cost of EV batteries has dropped 87 percent.

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January 11, 2021

“This week’s White supremacist violence and effort to overturn an election is, not only the product of Donald Trump and his enablers’ incessant lies and incitement, it is the latest and most shocking in a series of attacks designed to undermine our democracy at its roots. Voter suppression, dark money, and gerrymandering are all efforts to install a powerful minority in power despite the will of the people, just as this attempted coup was,” said New Mexican State Representative Debbie Sariñana, Air Force Veteran, EOPA National Co-Chair.

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December 21, 2020

These Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states along with the District of Columbia have been collaborating on TCI for years. Now the Memorandum of Understanding is ready for the governors to sign, to become official participants.

More than 115 elected officials have already signed an Elected Officials to Protect America – New Jersey letter to Governor Phil Murphy urging him to sign the MOU. The TCI consortium will be able to invest in modernized resilient transportation infrastructure regional systems that will improve health outcomes.

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December 17, 2020

The term fast fashion was first created in the 1990s in response to the opening of the store Zara in New York City. Whereas most stores up to that point had had four seasons of new clothing shipments, corresponding to the four seasons of weather, Zara is described as having “52 micro-seasons,” meaning the store receives shipments of new styles every single week. Many other stores are considered fast fashion as well, such as H&M, Forever 21, Gap, American Apparel, TopShop, and Uniqlo.

The average U.S. household spends around 3.8 percent of their income on clothing. Families bringing home the average $64,175 annually spend around $2,440 on clothing per year. At Christmas, the average family will increase spending on clothes by 43 percent. This means that demand for fast fashion increases. Fast fashion providers churn out even more products at even lower prices to boost profits for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and New Year sales. 

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December 15, 2020

Urgent action combating climate change, and systemic change that addresses racial inequalities, has to happen. That’s why Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA) urges President-elect Biden to prioritize a National Climate Plan that will be just for all, and employs hundreds of thousands transitioning America to a clean energy economy.

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December 4, 2020

This year, from America’s shorelines battered by hurricanes, to the heartlands scorched by droughts, and to apocalyptic wildfires in the West, climate change has proven to be a destructive force — fueled by the fossil fuel industry. It has devastated livelihoods, displaced thousands, and tragically taken lives. September was the hottest on record globally, federal government scientists say. A new multi-agency report from leading science organizations, United in Science 2020, concluded that 2016–2020 is set to be the warmest five-year period on record.

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November 19, 2020

The production of fossil fuels has affected health outcomes of citizens across the country for decades, causing cancer in children and adults, asthma, respiratory and cardiovascular problems, headaches, nausea, dizziness, and premature and/or low birth weights. Scientific knowledge, from more than two dozen peer-reviewed studies that were published over the last 20 years, all conclude that living near oil and gas wells risks potentially serious health consequences. Petroleum-related air toxins like benzene, toluene, formaldehyde and xylene are the culprits. 

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November 11, 2020

On Veterans Day four veterans who also hold elected office, and Brigadier General Stephen Cheney held a press conference to highlight the national security dangers of climate change. The elected officials are part of a group called the Elected Officials to Protect America. (EOPA). Brigadier Cheney is the President of the non-profit American Security Project.(ASA.) Their assessments of the situation locally, and internationally were eye opening. That’s why we’re sending the ZOOM press recording to you, in case you missed the event.

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October 27, 2020

“We can either throw away money on the fossil fuels of the past. That is the road to more pollution, or we can invest in the technologies of the future, renewable energy, nature-based solutions, sustainable transport and green technologies . . . only one of these paths is rational,” wrote UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in an oped.

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“It’s imperative that lawmakers around the country uphold environmental protection laws, equal rights for all and strengthen laws against environmental injustices. Systemic racism wouldn’t still be a problem if our laws hadn’t codified it. For example redlining, the process of discrimination against people of color from obtaining loans, has excuded too many for too long from the American Dream of owning a home or business,” said Oregon State Representative Major Paul L. Evans USAF (Ret.), Elected Officials to Protect America Co-Chair.

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“Without Congressional action, Americans from all walks of life will suffer from cuts to public safety, education, human services and environmental safety. I teach science, our school system has been hit hard with expenses related to the pandemic and learning remotely. As a veteran, we never hesitate getting needed supplies and services to our people. Our nation has the capacity to do what’s needed,” said New Mexican State Representative Debbie Sariñana, Air Force Veteran, EOPA Co-Chair. “Congress has to enact a stimulus that supports state and local governments as well as one that will grow a clean energy economy, with job training and employment.”

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On the day before the anniversary of September 11, a letter signed by 1,100+ academics was made public. In the letter scientists, researchers, analysts, professors, and academics demanded New York State fully divest fossil fuel investments from the state’s pension fund.

“New York State pensions are intended to provide secure futures. The state should never gamble with them. According to a comprehensive Corporate Knights assessment, Comptroller DiNapoli has already lost at least 22 billion dollars, from the CRF. That’s unconscionable,” said Albany County Legislator William Reinhard, EPONY letter signatory.

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Elected Officials to Protect California (EOPCA) have been warning Governor Newsom about the danger of fossil fuels and the massive risks of leaking oil and gas, and yet little has been done. 

 “I’m proud to serve as Co-Chair of Elected Officials to Protect California, where more than 300 of us signed a letter to him to take action to halt permitting, put safety zones around existing wells and to phase out fossil fuel production once and for all,” said Meghan Sahli-Wells former Culver City Mayor, and current Councilmember, Elected Officials to Protect California Co-Chair.

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The right to peacefully assemble is paramount in any functioning democracy, as it allows citizens to exercise their freedom of speech without fear of government retaliation. While there are many long-standing issues that continue to be justly protested —  corporate reactions to anti-pipeline protests are setting a dangerous precedent. The Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA) sees this as a threat to America’s rule of law, and strongly condemns the wave of legislation in numerous states that have been eroding the First Amendment.

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The sea is acidifying at an unprecedented rate, threatening marine species and the economies that rely on them. Human activity, specifically the unfettered combustion of fossil fuels, is indubitably responsible for the degradation of the world’s oceans.

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The East coast is still reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Isaias that left many struggling through flood-choked streets and millions of Americans without power.

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Elected Officials to Protect America urges Congress to enact a clean energy stimulus that will create millions of jobs while combating climate change and reclaiming our position as global leader. Using the ARRA as a starting point, Congress should add to it — ensuring America will run on 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

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“As veterans who are lawmakers, protecting our public lands is part of defending our country. We fought to ensure every American enjoys their inherited right to public land access,” said Alex Cornell du Houx, a former Maine state lawmaker, Marine combat veteran, and President of Elected Officials to Protect America.(EOPA). “We are elated to see that the Great American Outdoors Act passed Congress and soon will be law, creating increased prosperity, health, and the freedom to enjoy our nation’s national treasures for generations.”

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In this moment of reckoning for the energy future of America, Elected Officials to Protect California (EOPCA) joins indigenous and front-lines organizers in celebrating victories over unjust and exploitative pipelines. With the tide of public opinion now clearly opposed to carbon emissions, and the oil industry’s devastating reevaluations, the vise-like grip of the fossil fuel industry’s lobbying influence is weakening at last. 

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