SACRAMENTO, Calif– Today Last Chance Alliance, an alliance of more than 900 climate, health, justice and community groups, released a video explaining how oil drilling contributes to climate change and the bigger and worsening fires of the West. While fires are a natural and important part of California’s ecosystem, extracting and burning fossil fuels has made California fires bigger and faster-moving. Wildfires worsen air quality and increase public health risks, especially for babies and children, pregnant parents, and communities of color and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by severe air pollution. For the more than 7 million Californians living near oil drilling and pollution from industrial operations in their own backyard, the public health threats from fossil fuels are particularly great.


“Pollution from oil and gas drilling causes asthma and other respiratory problems, affects babies even before they are born and may cause cognitive decline and cancer,” said Dr Marjaneh Moini, Physicians for Social Responsibility Board Member. “Climate change is the biggest health threat humanity has ever faced. Our dependence on fossil fuels drives both climate change and air pollution. We must phase out oil and gas infrastructure to protect public health, particularly in over-polluted and under-protected frontline communities. Californians deserve clean air and a livable future.”


The video calls on Governor Newsom to formally commit to a halt on permitting for new fossil fuel projects and was released just days after the governor appeared before both Democratic caucuses in the Capitol to champion his vision for a 3,200-foot setback separating communities from new oil drilling. But despite his rhetoric, state oil regulator CalGEM has been slow to develop this important health rule and continues to issue permits – including those within the proposed public health and safety setback – even in the face of ongoing methane leaks from aging oil infrastructure in neighborhoods. 


“There is no safe distance from oil and gas extraction. When Big Oil comes into our backyards and schoolyards to drill, refine, and burn fossil fuels, it harms our communities every step of the way. Comprehensive 3,200ft setbacks on new and existing wells that protect millions of Calfornians from the chronic health harms of extraction are the beginning of the end of California’s public health and climate crises. It’s through setbacks as a first step that we will ensure a healthy and livable future for all,” said Kobi Naseck, VISIÓN Coalition Coordinator


Many of the same dangerous health symptoms communities experience from proximity to oil drilling are experienced by fire-impacted communities. Last Chance Alliance produced this video in an effort to show Californians how fossil fuel executives, raking in massive profits, are exacerbating California’s climate-intensified fires by continuing to pollute our communities at the expense of our health and our climate. Continuing to drill for oil is literally fueling the flames by locking our state into a fiery, smoke-filled future.


“It is not enough that we understand that climate change is fueling California’s historic wildfires. We must recognize that oil and gas drilling has turned healthy ecosystem fires into massive wildfire events,” said Greenpeace USA Senior Climate Campaigner, Amy Moas, Ph.D. “While oil and gas executives are raking in record-breaking profits, everyday Californians are bearing the brunt of their toxic pollution and climate chaos. As droughts, heatwaves, and smoke-filled skies continue to threaten our homes, livelihoods, and health, the very future livability of our state is in question. The global climate emergency is here to stay unless we take bold action to rein in fossil fuels.” 


“California’s climate action comes in stops and starts, but that’s too slow for a state already in flames,” said Food & Water Watch’s Acting California Director Mark Schlosberg. “Governor Newsom knows the science as well as we all do — fossil fuels worsen wildfires and threaten the health and safety of Californians across the state. And yet, interest groups like WSPA grab the mic while Newsom refuses to stand up to Big Oil by stopping all new fossil fuel projects. We need Newsom to upstage Big Oil’s broken record of anti-climate propaganda and show the world how California can lead by ending new fossil fuel permits today.”


To watch the video: visit