Dear Governor Brown
Stop Drilling California
California is best known for a healthy lifestyle, healthy environment, organic agriculture and being on the cutting edge of conservation. But very few people are aware that California is the nation’s third largest producer of oil and gas. Drilling has been going on in California for over 100 years and it has left a trail of contaminated water, dirty air, polluted land, and everything else that is common to the fossil fuel industry. Today, close to five million Californians live within a mile of at least one oil rig.
Although the companies work hard to mask the smell of the oil, people still suffer the consequences of pollution. Nausea, nosebleeds, and headaches are common to those who live close to the drill sites
Droughts are common in California and the period between 2011 and 2015 was the driest in recorded history. During that time, farmers suffered because most farming depends on irrigation. This accounts for 80% of the state’s human water use. During the recent drought, farmers received 50% less surface water, while the oil industry continued to use large amounts of fresh water and contaminated a lot of the drinking water.
Scott Smith of Water Defense used a sponge technique to gather water samples along the entire ten-mile canal of Cawelo Water District and found that some of the samples contained acetone, methylene chloride, and oil. This water was being used to irrigate the vegetables and fruits that end up on people’s plates. When the chemicals related to oil production get into the ground water, it causes enormous losses for farmers.
There has been an increase in production of oil and gas due to the expansion of unconventional drilling which uses acidization, steam flooding, and fracking to obtain fossil fuels that were previously out of reach. The acids used are highly toxic and the industry provides very little information regarding the contents. But people can look through their windows and see workers a few feet away wearing heavy protective gear when the acid arrives. The big question is, shouldn’t everybody else be wearing protective clothing too?
In 1974, Jerry Brown was the greenest governor in the country. By 2015, he continued to talk about climate change and his commitment to reducing oil consumption, yet he was unwilling to stop the oil companies. In fact, he allows more than 300 new polluting wells to be drilled each month.
On May 19, 2015, a 28-year-old crude oil pipeline ruptured and caused an oil spill at Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara. The contamination stretched for about seven miles along the coastline and tar balls damaged more than 100 miles of beaches. It was initially estimated that about 20,000 gallons reached the ocean. In the end, over 100,000 US gallons of crude oil were dumped into one of the most biologically diverse coastlines in the nation.
The longer Governor Brown waits before taking a stand against the gas and oil companies, the more lives are disrupted. Watch this now.