MARCH 18, 2021


SF Bay PSR goes beyond policy advocacy with a diverse array of projects designed to nurture a paradigm shift in the way we as a society approach the environment, health, and security. However, policy advocacy is at the heart of our work, so in this issue we dive deeper into the policies that SF Bay PSR will be working on in 2021 at the state level, and anti-nuclear efforts, mostly at the federal level.

Much of California state’s efforts this year will be focused on vaccine distribution and COVID relief, but we must simultaneously tackle intersecting climate, health, and equity issues. Together we can push California to reach our goal of carbon neutrality by 2045 by supporting proposed state bills and regulations which would: reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by speedily ending oil and gas extraction in California and creating stricter setbacks for homes near oil-well sites; require better technology to scrub pollutants out of oil refinery emissions; set up and mandate zero-emission transportation incentives and infrastructure; and decarbonize buildings.

The American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2020 report shows that California cities are experiencing the highest levels of air pollution in the country. While 98% of Californians live in counties with a failing grade for at least one air pollution measurement, a person of color is three times more likely to live in a county with failing grades in all measurements. In addition to communities of color, those with lower income, lung conditions, and those 65 and older, experience the health burdens of air pollution most acutely.

The following bills would work in concert to address both public health and health equity, as well as the climate crisis, by reducing GHG emissions while initiating a just transition for workers to a green economy.

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California’s path to zero carbon emissions by 2045: Governor Newsom signed two executive orders last year that have positioned California as a national leader in setting carbon emissions reduction goals. This year the state is taking the next steps toward implementation of the orders with the development of the CARB Mobile Source Strategy: a comprehensive analysis that presents strategies to reduce the carbon and toxic pollution from cars, trucks, equipment and ships. The strategy will provide key regulatory information going forward and will be used to implement Governor Newsom’s Executive Orders N-19-19 and N-79-20. EO N-19-19 requires “every aspect of state government to redouble efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change while building a sustainable and inclusive economy.” EO N-79-20 will end sales of NEW internal combustion passenger vehicles by 2035.

One of the most potentially impactful bills toward our emission reduction goals is SB 467 that would Ban Fracking and Dangerous Drilling, by Scott Wiener and Monique Limón. This bill provides an intentional process to help reduce carbon emissions and protect communities and workers. It would phase out extreme extraction techniques, including hydraulic fracturing, acid well stimulation, steam flooding, water flooding, and cyclic steaming. It would also stop new well permits in 2022, all oil well extraction activity in California by 2027, and prohibit any new oil extraction permits within 2,500 feet of communities by July 1, 2022.

Importantly, SB 467 would help to protect workers by initiating a just transition to new green energy jobs—this is a critical program to support in order to convince the greater public and unions representing relatively well-paid workers connected to the fossil fuel industry to support this bill. Frontline community groups who are most impacted by drilling in Kern County and Los Angeles support this legislation, in addition to over 70 groups from throughout California. The economic impacts of resuming the status quo, as the oil well supply decreases and industry jobs are no longer stable, are likely to be severe. Using federal and state funds to invest in job retraining programs and green-energy jobs for workers in the California oil industry would simultaneously protect workers’ livelihoods, health, and the environment, while stimulating the state’s economy.

For those of you less familiar with state legislature procedures, bills that do not pass can be reincarnated or splintered off into other versions for the following year’s legislative session. SB467 is a new iteration of the 2020 bill AB345, referred to as a green new deal bill, that passed the State Assembly but failed in the Senate last year.

At the local level, we are advocating for reduced emissions from the Chevron and Shell oil refineries. SF Bay PSR along with Climate Health Now and a coalition of activist and community groups were able to convince the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) committee to select a plan for board vote that includes stricter regulations (amendment to Rule 6-5) and would require oil refineries to upgrade their facilities with the best current technology, wet gas scrubbers, that would provide a 75% reduction in particular matter (PM) air pollution. Over half of refineries in the U.S. already use this technology, so its implementation in the Bay Area is imperative.

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The California Air Resources Board reports that the building sector is the second largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state, second only to transportation. SF Bay PSR is supporting a set of bills (California Building Decarbonization Package – SB 30, SB 31, SB 32) that was introduced to decarbonize buildings.

SB30 would prohibit all state agencies from connecting new facilities to the natural gas grid beginning on January 01, 2022, and prohibit the state from providing funding for projects that are not zero-emission beginning on January 01, 2023, except in some cases. Lastly it would require the Department of General Services to develop the California State Building Decarbonization Plan that will ensure all existing state-owned buildings reach carbon-neutrality by 2035.

SB31 would require the California Energy Commission (CEC), under the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program, to award funds for projects that will benefit electricity rate payers, develop building decarbonization technologies, and make investments that reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas generation.

SB32 would require all cities and counties to incorporate building decarbonization requirements that are consistent with the state’s emission reduction targets into their General Plan by January 1, 2023.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in new buildings: Finally, we are advocating for electric vehicle charging access for all in California and particularly in every new building development. The opportunity to advocate for the state building codes to include recharging stations has come up because California’s CALGreen building code (Title 24, Part 11) is updated every 3 years, with the next cycle going into effect in 2022. Currently state agencies are accepting comments from stakeholders: the Building Standards Commission (BSC) handles nonresidential, and the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) handles residential code. We want to democratize access to electrified driving and set a precedent for federal EV policy with the new Biden administration.

We invite you to take action by joining an SF Bay PSR committee, writing to your representatives (find them here), or writing an op-ed.

Special thanks to SF Bay PSR intern Daisy Valdivieso for her research and editorial assistance with this piece.

MORE READINGS & RESOURCES can be found at the end of the newsletter.

Anti-Nuclear Policy Efforts

This year, SF Bay PSR is working closely with the PSR National office on efforts in three main areas related to nuclear weapons abolition goals envisioned in our Back from the Brink (BftB) campaign. First, we are supporting legislation that would divert wasteful military spending, particularly on nuclear modernization efforts, to address graver threats to our country illustrated by our COVID pandemic.  We are supporting national legislation advocating for limits on sole Presidential authority to launch a nuclear attack, and for our government to declare a policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons. Finally, we are encouraging the Biden Administration’s return to diplomacy after the destructive “America First” policies of the Trump Administration. Biden has extended the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia by five years, even as the tensions with Russia persist, and we hope the Administration’s opening to re-enter the Iran Nuclear Deal can help defuse dangers of a new regional Mideast war that could easily escalate to a nuclear catastrophe. On the local level, SF Bay PSR will continue to advocate for California municipalities to adopt the Back from the Brink goals and to divest from nuclear weapons.

We are working together with PSR National in the People Over Pentagon coalition led by Public Citizen and many peace groups, in advocating for a 10% cut of the Pentagon budget and requesting that funds be redirected for COVID relief, a just recovery, and transition to a green economy. Part of this effort is redefining what national security means—our nuclear weapons didn’t deter COVID which has killed more than 536,000 (as of March 17, 2021), far exceeding the total number of Americans who died in World War II, Korean, and Vietnam Wars. The Pentagon spends $716 billion per year, a budget characterized by abundant waste and fraud – exemplified by overpriced spare parts, weapons systems with huge cost overruns, facilitated by the scandalous “revolving door” of legislators and industry lobbyists. With all of our pressing needs flowing from our pandemic and economic collapse, we are strongly supporting the following efforts:

Investing in Cures Before Missiles Act (ICBM)

Representative Ro Khanna and Senator Ed Markey are working together to introduce this new ICBM Act, which aligns with our Back from the Brink campaign’s call to “cancel enhanced weapons.” The legislation would essentially redirect funds from destabilizing new weapons systems (such as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent replacement for aging Minuteman III ICBMs and new W87-1 warhead) toward conducting research for the development of a universal coronavirus vaccine, and methods to combat emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases that pose the potential for future pandemics.

Cutting Pentagon Spending

Representatives Barbara Lee, Marc Pocan, and Jacob Auchincloss recently sent a letter from Congress to President Biden, urging that his first budget request to Congress include a REDUCED Pentagon budget. The letter states that “Hundreds of billions of dollars now directed to the military would have greater return if invested in diplomacy, humanitarian aid, global public health, sustainability initiatives, and basic research. …. Thoughtful analysis from experts across the political spectrum shows that significant cuts can be achieved without reducing the support, pay or benefits provided to our men and women in uniform and their families. We could cut the Pentagon budget by more than ten percent and still spend more than the next ten largest militaries combined.”

MORE READINGS & RESOURCES can be found at the end of the newsletter.

Click on the following to see
Action Alerts
PSR Member News



Change Research: Californians Overwhelmingly Want Action on Oil Hazards, Just Transition
Journal of Climate Change and Health: Necessity and implementation of climate and health education for medical students and physicians
New Yorker: When the Kids Started Getting Sick (fracking health effects on children)
Guardian: Oil firms knew decades ago fossil fuels posed grave health risks, files reveal
Exclusive: documents seen by Guardian show companies fought clean-air rules despite being aware of harm caused by air pollution

SF Chronicle: Scott Wiener introduces bill to ban California fracking by 2027
EcoWatch: New Bill Seeks to Ban Fracking in California


PSR National’s Nuclear Weapons Abolition Efforts
Public Citizen: 50 House Lawmakers Are Right: Excessive Pentagon Spending Won’t Make Us Safer
Campaign for Peace: Disarmament and Common Security’s webinar about the international nuclear disarmament agenda
The Guardian: World nuclear arms spending hit $73bn last year – half of it by US
Experts Speak: Listen to Dr. Robert Gould, SF Bay PSR president, speak on the nuclear threat to our environmental, health, and communities
City Lights Bookstore: Conversation with Nicole Perlroth on the cyber weapons arms race
Beyond Nuclear International: Why Bill Gates Is Wrong [about nuclear energy]
NPR: What It Would Take for Biden to Revive the Iran Deal
The Conversation: Biden and the Iran Nuclear Deal: What to expect from negotiations