In the story of California politics, Gov. Jerry Brown benefits from the widely held notion that he is a leader on climate issues. But over the last four years, Brown has not delivered on his promise to put our water and health first in order to carry California into a new clean-energy economy. Instead, he's chosen to expand extreme oil and gas extraction, which harms our communities and undermines his own greenhouse-gas-reduction goals for California.
Brown continues to allow hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to extract oil in California, even in the face of clear and abundant scientific evidence warning against this method's dangers. There is little to no safety oversight around fracked wells, even those located just yards from elementary schools and next to farms that feed the nation and the world. If Brown really cares about climate issues, how can he ignore the emissions from fracking, the billions of gallons of oil-industry wastewater injected into aquifers and the health problems associated with fracking in the Central Valley, Los Angeles and beyond?
The sunset of Brown's career coincides with two key crises: a historic drought that threatens California communities; and, tied to the drought, climate change, the biggest challenge of our time. Yet Brown continues to allow the oil and gas industry to waste 2 million gallons of fresh water a day on extreme oil extraction in California. He continues to support these toxic methods that sabotage the goals of Senate Bills 1204 and 1275, which he signed in September to address air pollution in at-risk communities by cutting emissions that threaten respiratory health.
That's not climate leadership.
As he prepares for his final term as governor, Jerry Brown must choose: Will he stand up and do right by our water, our health and our communities by ending extreme oil extraction, or will he claim his legacy as the governor who chose not to protect Californians from oil- and gas-industry greed?
The people want Brown to do the right thing, and the momentum is clear. Last March, 4,000 people rallied in Sacramento urging Brown to end fracking. Over the last year leaders across California have pushed back on fracking in their hometowns, and people in directly affected communities are rising up every day to send a roaring message: Californians don't want fracking, and climate leaders don't frack. During this fall's election, voters in two California counties, San Benito and Mendocino, passed local bans on fracking.
Join this fight. On Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, join thousands of Californians marching through the streets of Oakland, Brown's home city. March to demand that he use his last term in office to truly become the climate leader who helped protect California's water, health and communities for generations to come. Go to marchforclimateleadership.org to register, to learn about bus transportation or to learn how your organization can become a partner. Together, we can make the Feb. 7 March for Real Climate Leadership a game-changing moment for California and Brown's legacy.
Written by the organizational partners hosting the March for Real Climate Leadership.
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