OCTOBER 17, 2023
Together we helped to do all this!
Bravo to all the environmental justice groups who led so many of these efforts!
And THANK YOU to all of you who signed, called, wrote, and donated!!!
California Forges Path to End Fossil Fuels!
California is the fifth largest economy in the world—so what we do creates a model pathway for other states and nations. That is one reason why it is so important for us to take action, and why we are thrilled by the wins below. And as you know, policy changes can in the aggregate save more lives and address inequities better than anything we can likely accomplish in our individual work as health professionals. That understanding underscores the mission and work of SF Bay Physicians for Social Responsibilities (SF Bay PSR) and is the reason we ask you to please consider making a gift here today!
CA Sues Big Oil!
We were thrilled that California is officially suing Big Oil! This is the biggest lawsuit of its kind in US history. It will hold the top five polluters accountable for decades of lies as they fueled the climate crisis, while knowingly poisoning all of us, with particularly deadly impacts on communities of color and lower-income. SF Bay PSR will be watching and supporting environmental justice coalitions’ solutions as they keep on the pressure to help CA take this big step toward a just transition. READ MORE in LA Times, NY Times, and the Guardian.
And in case you missed it, listen to Governor Newsom’s fiery speech that he gave at the United Nation’s Climate Ambition Summit, condemning fossil fuel companies for their decades of lies and destruction. Let’s hold him to his promises!
Two Important Environmental Justice Wins!
We are also happy to report that two environmental-justice led bills, that SF Bay PSR actively supported through letters, calls, and action alerts, were signed into law by Governor Newsom!
AB1167 the Orphan Wells Prevention Act requires financial assurances to prevent older oil wells from becoming abandoned. Wells that lack an operator create a public health and climate hazard and place a burden on taxpayers to clean them up.
AB421 Referendum Reform will reclaim our democracy from corporations by giving voters more transparency ahead of the upcoming oil and gas referendum. This bill will help us to further protect SB 1137. Imagined as a tool to empower California’s voters, referendums instead have been co-opted by billion-dollar corporations who are interested in protecting their profit margins by any means necessary. They deceive voters into signing petitions. They mislead voters about who is behind a measure. And after millions of dollars of misleading and deliberately confusing ads, voters are often left wondering what a yes or a no vote even means. That’s exactly what the corporations want. For example, Big Oil used deceptive tactics to collect signatures to try to overturn SB 1137 that was already signed into law and creates health protective zones of 3,200 feet around oil wells.
Another big win!
CA Endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty!
In fall of 2022, the European Parliament called on countries to develop a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty – a major development in the global push to end the expansion of fossil fuel projects.
SF Bay PSR was asked to provide expert witness to California State legislators, which was quite an honor! We were over the moon to learn that our efforts paid off—the State of California endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty proposal that supports a global, just transition away from coal, oil, and gas. The Treaty could guide not just California, but the world in addressing the climate crisis with scale and urgency.
THANK YOU to all of you who signed the health professional letter supporting the endorsement of this treaty!
Corporate Climate Accountability:
SB 252, 253, and 261
A huge thank you to Fossil Free CA and all of you who advocated for these bills!
These three bills put California at the forefront of global climate leadership by setting a new standard for the entire nation and the world.
SB 253 and 261, along with SB 252 – state pension divestment from fossil fuels – create the California Climate Corporate Accountability Bill Package. SF Bay PSR’s Divestment Task Force worked directly to advocate for SB 252 and will continue these efforts in 2024 as that bill continues to move through the legislature. To join SF Bay PSR’s Divestment Task Force email email@example.com.
Two of these three bills were signed into law by Governor Newsom!
SB 261: Requires companies to annually report their climate-related financial risks to the Secretary of State which provides essential information for investors to make informed decisions in the face of climate change.
SB 253: Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act requires all corporations that make over $1 billion in California to report all their emissions — not just the direct emissions that come out of their factories but also their indirect emissions, including the electricity they use to create their products, as well as emissions up and down the supply chain. That last category, which includes things like resource extraction, shipping, transportation, and disposal makes up the vast majority of these corporations’ emissions. This bill covers corporations that do business in California but may be headquartered anywhere in the country. Also, the number one motivator for corporations to act is transparency. Bravo!
A Few More Updates!
SB48: Signed into Law: Efficiency Improvements for Large Buildings directs the state to develop a strategy to track and manage energy and water usage in existing large buildings, without increasing costs or displacing low-income owners or tenants, to help achieve the state’s targets for equitable efficiency improvements and GHG emissions reductions.
SBX1- 2: Signed into Law: Penalize Windfall Profits for Oil Refiners establishes a windfall profits penalty for refineries and allows the CA Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission to impose penalties.
SB410: Signed into Law: Powering Up Californians Act will help to address long delays in connecting vehicle charging infrastructure to the electrical grid so California can decarbonize its transportation sector. This is essential to realize the climate and health benefits of rules like Advanced Clean Fleets and Advanced Clean Trucks.
Another Victory from March 2023: Healthier Air for the Bay Area!
BIG NEWS! On March 15, after six hours of public comments and nail biting….the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) passed the nation’s first zero-emissions appliance standard to gradually transition Bay Area homes to clean, healthy, electric furnaces and water heaters, beginning later this decade. This is historic! These new rules are now a model for the rest of the country. READ MORE and how SF Bay PSR members were on the frontlines!
A Great Disappointment!
SB394: Vetoed by the Governor for funding reasons: Master Plan for Healthy, Sustainable, and Climate-Resilient Schools. Senator Lena Gonzalez released the following statement:
“I’m disappointed the Governor chose not to sign our legislation to create a statewide Master Plan to keep kids safe from climate related health hazards. A historic coalition of students, teachers, organized labor, education advocates, and climate stakeholders has called for the creation of a statewide vision that will help guide the state and local education leaders in making campuses climate-resilient – and SB 394 would have been one of the first bills in the nation to do so. The state of California must do better and must act quickly to protect students from extreme heat, flooding, wildfire smoke, and other climate-related health and safety impacts.”
In 2024 we will be keeping our eyes on these and more:
SB252 Divestment for CA public retirement systems—as mentioned above, this bill passed senate in 2023 and will continue into 2024 to the Assembly.
SB556 Oil & Gas Wells Health Protection Zones Civil Liability – Held in Senate Appropriations Committee, expected to continue in 2024.
SB674 Refinery Air Pollution and Transparency and Reduction. Will continue in 2024. This bill creates a statewide standard for the refinery fence-line monitoring program ensuring that noxious pollutants are measured and best practices deployed to protect the wellbeing of the surrounding communities. Also it expands the definition of refineries to include biofuel refineries and auxiliary facilities.
MORE READING: LA Times: Boiling Point: Gavin Newsom signed a bunch of climate laws — and vetoed others
In September marches to end fossil fuels took place in 65 countries! Bravo to PSR PA and the Global Climate Health Alliance for leading the health professional contingent in NY and to our SF Bay and Sacramento PSR members for leading in Sacramento, CA!