Editorial: Oil drillers want to overturn California’s new health protections. Don’t let them get away with it.
A few years ago when California was considering what to do about the state’s exploding oil and gas industry, the state’s health commissioner, Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, warned lawmakers that the industry was moving in the wrong direction. He said that industry could be an existential threat to California’s citizens. It would destroy our health care system, he said, and would eventually take a toll on jobs, and even our economy. Duchin got his point across.
Now as California fights the oil lobby, the oil industry is moving to overturn the state’s new health regulations. Oil companies are pushing for the state to do whatever it takes to allow them to dump the toxic waste and drill for oil.
The health regulations put in place to protect public health have passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support. They prohibit some of the biggest threats to public health, and require the state to protect the environment. State regulators say the state’s policies and public response to oil spills have been effective.
The oil industry is trying to undo that. This will not be easy. We’re not talking about just oil and gas companies. We’re talking about the state’s elected officials and regulators. They know the oil companies better and are well aware of their actions. They know that the industry will do anything possible to prevent us from enforcing our laws. They have an army of lobbyists paid to stop them. They have the money to buy off officials and buy public support.
That’s why this is a fight worth mobilizing our community to support. We need to join this fight immediately and send a clear message to our elected officials. It is time for us to take this fight to the public and to demand our government officials and our state regulators stand with us and fight for our health, our safety, our livelihoods, and the future of our children.
We have to make our case and we have to do it in front of our elected officials, but we have to be clear. These oil companies are in the state. They want to drill in our communities. They want to frack in our communities. They are destroying our health and our environment. These oil companies have been warned by people who have been affected by their impact—the first responders, and the health department officials who are on the front lines protecting our health.