Friedman takes aim at oil drilling near homes, schools and workplaces

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Assemblymember Laura Friedman, who is one of more than a dozen candidates running to become West Hollywood’s next representative in Congress, launched a new legislative effort this week to impose stricter liabilities on oil drillers operating within proximity to residential areas, schools, and workplaces.

Assembly Bill 3155 seeks to hold oil drilling companies accountable for health issues like cancer, respiratory illnesses, and birth defects linked to their operations, especially when not employing the best available pollution control technologies.

This bill comes in the wake of mounting evidence connecting oil drilling to various health maladies and builds upon the groundwork laid by SB 1137, championed by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) in 2022. SB 1137, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, created a 3,200-foot safety buffer between drilling sites and sensitive areas but has been temporarily halted due to a referendum sponsored by oil companies.

Under the proposed AB 3155, penalties for oil drillers could range from $250,000 to $1 million, contingent on the companies’ inability to disprove the causation of illnesses. The bill not only reaffirms the scientific link between health issues and drilling but also seeks to further protect communities by enforcing legal accountability on companies failing to implement the safest drilling technologies.

The push for this legislation is partly inspired by the experiences of community activists like Nalleli Cobo, who suffered severe health consequences from living near a polluting oil well. Cobo’s personal ordeal underscores the broader issue of environmental injustice affecting communities, particularly those of color, living in close proximity to oil and gas wells.

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A coalition of over 130 public interest groups, including the Central California Environmental Justice Network, California Environmental Justice Alliance, and Sierra Club, has voiced support for AB 3155, highlighting the disproportionate environmental impacts on low-income communities of color.

Consumer Watchdog, a leading advocate for the bill, parallels the proposed legal framework for oil drillers to existing liabilities faced by the gun industry in California, emphasizing a shift in the burden of proof from individuals to drillers. This legislative effort signifies a critical step towards reconciling industrial practices with public health and environmental justice.

AB 3155 is set for its first hearing in April 2024, marking a pivotal moment in California’s ongoing struggle to balance energy needs with the health and safety of its residents.

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Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
1 month ago

Drill, baby, drill! Oil is how we make the economy grow especially for the middle class and lower classes. Until we bring nukes back, we’re going to have to use oil and gas and other hydrocarbons. But nooooo, can’t have a fireplace or a gas stove, it might raise the temperature 1/10º in 50 years.

John Smith
John Smith
1 month ago

With all the nonsense in this city, this is what she’s focused on?

It’s like Del Boca Vista.

Joshua88
Joshua88
1 month ago
Reply to  John Smith

There are 19 oil wells in Beverly Hills. They spent $40mn capping the wells.
If the owners do not clean up the messes, the city/feds must pay for it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverly_Hills_Oil_Field

Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
1 month ago
Reply to  Joshua88

I wouldn’t cap the well, I’d still drill. Dude, it’s at the very least paying your property tax, mortgage, and utilities bills. Also if it’s on my land…hippity hoppity get off my property.

BloodshotEyedGuy
BloodshotEyedGuy
1 month ago

THIS is her biggest concern during these turbulent times? Um, nope.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago

This sounds reasonable on the surface, but it fails to discuss what came first, the oil wells or the homes. Don’t drill near existing homes, and don’t build homes near existing oil wells. Simple.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

People buy homes near oil wells because they can afford them. No one forced them to live there. I think the developers that created the housing and the municipalities that issued building permits should be liable. Unfortunately, we Progressives seem to think we can always win debates by bringing race into the conversation. Then we wonder why we can’t just get along.

Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
Harambe's Vengeful Ghost
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Nope. Also, stop being a progressive, you’re the reason we fail.

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