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.

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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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Trump rollbacks methane emissions and Newsom issues fracking permits

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.

Read Full Release Here.

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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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