California has been wracked with devastating wildfire and drought, exacerbated by climate change. (toa555/Adobe Stock)

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By Suzanne Potter

June 22, 2022   

A big rally is planned for tomorrow (Thursday) in Sacramento on issues related to climate change. Advocates will urge the California Air Resources Board to reject any expansion of natural gas plants. and urge lawmakers to pass SB 1020, which would set near-term targets for 100% renewable energy. They also want Gov. Gavin Newsom to block any future oil and gas permits. Comments from Alex Walker-Griffin, vice mayor of the Bay Area town of Hercules (HER-cue-leez); from Dan Kalb, a member of the Oakland City Council and immediate past chair of the East Bay Community Energy Board; and Marisol Rubio, vice president of the Dublin-San Ramon Water District Board.

Groups fighting the effects of climate change will gather Thursday at the state Environmental Protection Agency building in Sacramento to call for action on multiple fronts.

Protesters want the California Air Resources Board, which meets Thursday, to reject a proposed 20-year scoping plan option that would allow new gas-fired power plants in the state.

Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb said he wants Gov. Gavin Newsom to push for a swift transition away from oil and gas.

“Elected officials from up and down the state are urging our good governor to stop issuing any new permits for fossil-fuel development,” he said, “and urge the passage, and then sign, SB 1020 when it gets to his desk.”

Senate Bill 1020, which will be heard today in the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy, would set interim goals toward getting 100% of the state’s power from renewable sources. Supporters of the oil and gas industry have said it provides thousands of jobs and should remain in California’s energy portfolio.

Alex Walker-Griffin, vice mayor of the Bay Area town of Hercules, said California must keep environmental justice in mind as it transitions away from fossil fuels.

“This is an opportunity,” he said, “for California to reinvent itself, where we have come together and help out some communities that have been really impacted by oil drilling, the refineries that are in their area that have polluted their neighborhoods for years and decades, and say, ‘Hey, we want to do something better.'”

Marisol Rubio, vice president of the Dublin-San Ramon Water District Board, said the air pollution generated by burning oil and gas is deadly serious.

“In the U.S., air pollution kills around 100,000 people per year,” she said. “Health effects from the fine particulate matter stemming from fossil-fuel combustion include aggravated asthma, respiratory infections, lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, cognitive impairment and premature death.”


Meeting agenda California Air Quality Board 6/2022
Senate Bill 1020 California Legislature 2020