SLO leaders call on governor to 'end dirty fossil fuel extraction'

Heidi Harmon and other San Luis Obispo leaders want the governor to phase out oil and gas production in California.
Heidi Harmon and other San Luis Obispo leaders want the governor to phase out oil and gas production in California. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

California elected officials sent a letter today urging Gov. Jerry Brown to seal his legacy with a statewide plan to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure and begin phasing out oil and gas production.

San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon and City Council members Aaron Gomez, Andy Pease and Dan Rivoire are among the 100 officials who signed the letter as part of Elected Officials to Protect California.

The group, according to a news release from the Center for Biological Diversity, is working "to demand an end to the dirty fossil fuel extraction that harms their constituents and the environment."

"The city of San Luis Obispo is committed to bold climate action, and we need the state's support to swiftly move beyond fossil fuel production and create local equitable jobs in the renewable energy economy, Harmon said in a written statement.

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The San Luis Obispo County, California, Board of Supervisors discussed an initiative to ban new oil wells and fracking to be placed on the ballot in November 2018. Residents from across the Central Coast debated at the June 19 meeting.

"Climate change impacts us locally, including increased drought, flooding and fires, but also globally. We are deeply concerned that impacts are disproportionately high in underserved communities throughout the state and the globe."

The letter calls for Brown to take bold climate action with three policy directives that they say are imperative to address climate change and to protect public health:

  • Stop issuing permits for new fossil fuel projects.
  • Create a 2,500-foot "human health buffer zone," banning oil and gas facilities around occupied structures, public parks and farms.
  • Commit the state to 100 percent renewable energy.

It comes two months after consumer and health care groups launched a campaign called "Brown's Last Chance."

Campaigns against the oil and gas industry are organizing locally as well.

San Luis Obispo County voters in November will decide whether to ban new oil and gas wells locally, after environmental organizations gathered enough signatures to place the question on the ballot.

Members of the Coalition to Protect San Luis Obispo County deliver 20,000 signatures to the SLO County Clerk get a measure that would ban fracking and outlaw new oil wells on the November 2018 ballot.