SACRAMENTO—California Governor Gavin Newsom released his revised 2019-20 budget proposal yesterday, calling for “the need for careful study and planning to decrease demand and supply of fossil fuels, while managing the decline in a way that is economically responsible and sustainable.” (p. 74) The proposal includes $1.5 million for a study laying out the key actions the state must take to transition California’s economy away from fossil fuels by 2050.

California is among the largest oil-producing states in the nation, extracting about 200 million barrels of oil per year. In communities across the state, such as South Los Angeles and Arvin, oil wells operate in close proximity to sensitive land uses, such as homes, schools and parks.

This is the first public acknowledgement by a California Governor of the need to address the state’s fossil fuel extraction and comes after years of advocacy by community, health, labor, and consumer groups who have pushed for a phase out of fossil fuel production, starting in communities most impacted by oil drilling.

Newsom’s proposal is being commended by climate and environmental justice advocates, who are encouraging swift follow-up from the Governor:

“The fossil fuel-based economy has come at the grave cost of the health and safety of communities next to oil and gas operations, and we appreciate Governor Newsom’s important first steps toward a fossil fuel phaseout in California,“ said Gladys Limón, Executive Director of the California Environmental Justice Alliance. “We hope the Governor will prioritize relieving frontline communities of the unconscionable burdens they currently face by instituting a commonsense health and safety buffer, and continue to invest in transitioning impacted workers into high-wage jobs to ensure they can thrive in the new energy economy.”

“For too long frontline communities have suffered the worst impacts of big oil,” said Darryl Molina Sarmiento, Executive Director of Communities for a Better Environment. “We are encouraged the Governor is highlighting this issue and we ask him to act with urgency. Time is running out.”

“[Applause] @CAgovernor for acknowledging ‘the need for careful study and planning to decrease demand & supply of fossil fuels’ in the #CABudget #MayRevise,” tweeted the Center on Race, Poverty, & the Environment. “This is a first step forward in phasing out fossil fuels to create an equitable, healthy future for all of CA’s communities.”

This is important–CA could be a real leader in phasing out oil drilling,” tweeted Bill Mckibben, Co- founder of “It’s the place that @JerryBrownGov couldn’t bring himself to go, and it looks like @GavinNewsom might just have the nerve required.”

“When you’re in a hole as we are with the climate crisis, the first step is to stop digging. We already have more fossil fuels than we can afford to burn, and every barrel of new oil production makes the problem worse,” said David Turnbull, Strategic Communications Director at Oil Change International. “California can lead the way by showing what a true managed decline can look like, and we applaud Governor Newsom for his recognition of that imperative.”

“Fossil fuels are fueling cancer, as well as climate change. Frontline communities are exposed to harmful carcinogens and hormone disruptors that raise the risk of breast cancer and other diseases. And across the state, air pollution from auto exhaust and combustion engines increase the risk of breast cancer,” said Karuna Jaggar, Director of Breast Cancer Action. “Governor Newsom’s acknowledgment that California needs to decrease the supply and demand of fossil fuels is the first step in protecting public health for the most populous state in the nation.”

“Californians breathe some of the dirtiest air in the nation, and in many communities across our state, oil drilling plays an outsized role in that,” said Janet Redman, Climate Campaign Director for Greenpeace USA. “The oil and gas industry isn’t just polluting our climate, it’s also polluting the places and people we love. Governor Newsom is highlighting that for the first time—acknowledging an injustice and taking action that is long overdue. We look forward to continued leadership from the Governor as he works to build a fossil-free future for all Californians.”

Another positive step: @GavinNewsom’s #MayRevise called out the need to “decrease demand & supply of fossil fuels” with a managed decline,” tweeted Kassie Siegel, Director, Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “@CAgovernor we need your leadership to protect our communities and climate from CA’s own dirty oil extraction!”

“While we appreciate the commitment to studying how California can phase fossil fuels out of our economy, we encourage the Governor to aim for a timeline that meets the urgency of the climate crisis and reflects the ambition and ingenuity of our state,” said Matt Nelson, Executive Director of Presente.Org. “As a leader in the world economy and a leader on climate change, California can set the pace for a rapid and just transition.”

“The recognition that we need to reduce the demand and supply of fossil fuels is an important step for Newsom, but it must be the first step of many,” said Mark Schlosberg, Organizing Co-Director of Food & Water Watch. “As Governor, Newsom has the power to take bold action to protect California communities and the climate. This means taking a series of concrete actions including shutting down the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility – site of the largest gas blowout in US history, issuing an immediate moratorium on all new fossil fuel projects, and instituting a 2500 foot safety buffer to protect communities across the state being impacted right now from fossil fuel extraction.  ”

“As a candidate, Gavin Newsom signed the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge to not take money from oil companies during his campaign. Now he’s signing a No Fossil Fuel pledge of far greater import. Bravo,” said RL Miller, political director of Climate Hawks Vote. “And it’s no coincidence that he’s acting in opposition to Trump, making news just as Trump attempts to expand drilling in California — Newsom has vowed to be the anti-Trump governor, and he’s keeping that promise splendidly.”

“As the father of four, Governor Newsom has something personal at stake here, too,” said Linda Hutchins-Knowles, California Senior Organizer for Mothers Out Front. “Our children are facing a double crisis: a health crisis and a climate crisis. According to the Public Health Institute, 8 out of 10 Californians live in a county with unhealthy air pollution levels, and children’s developing lungs are particularly vulnerable. We owe it to our children to ensure that the air they breathe is healthy. We also must ensure that they’ll have a livable climate. With only 11 years to head off irreversible climate damage, we’re glad to see Governor Newsom acknowledge the need to use every tool in the tool box: both driving up demand for renewables as well as cutting down the supply of climate-destroying fossil fuels, including California’s notoriously dirty oil.”