The environment was one issue Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom spent very little time on during his second annual State of the State address on Wednesday. However, outside the Capitol in Sacramento environmentalists rallied to bring attention to what they see as environmental threats posed by California's oil industry. The protestors chanted demands that Newsom and the Legislature do more to address what they consider to be a "climate crisis" and the millions of people in the state living close to oil drilling operations.
A group called Last Chance Alliance was among those represented at the rally and they want the governor to end all new fossil fuel projects in California, create a plan to phase out all drilling for crude oil and natural gas, and provide support people in related jobs most impacted by such a transition.
The rally was also intended to make a connection between drilling and health concerns throughout the state.
"The same fossil fuels that are fueling the climate crisis are fueling the cancer crisis," said Rebecca Saltzman, Deputy Director of Breast Cancer Action. "Many of the toxic chemicals used in fossil fuel production have been linked to acute and long-term health harms, including breast cancer, putting frontline communities and workers at highest risk. It is time for Governor Newsom to be a leader by phasing out fossil fuel production, for the health of our communities and our planet."
"Parents around the state are appalled that California allows fossil-fuel production right next door to where our children live, study and play--prioritizing fossil-fuel profits over the health of our children and communities," insisted Linda Hutchins-Knowles, Senior California Organizer for Mothers Out Front.
This protest during the State of the State address comes just one day after the California Department of Conservation began a series of public hearings in Kern County, where the oil industry has a large presence. The hearings are intended to gather information ahead of any recommended changes regarding state public safety and health regulations.