SACRAMENTO, CA—Gov. Newsom’s May budget revision, released today, will help drive economic opportunity as we simultaneously address the climate crisis. The revised budget allocates “$200 million to plug abandoned orphaned oil and gas wells, many located near low-income residential areas.” This allocation of funding will help create good-paying jobs and will  help the state tackle its multibillion dollar idle well liability. California’s largest oil producers have set aside only a small fraction of the money required to properly clean up the oil and gas wells that pose grave threats to our water supplies, environment, and public safety if not properly remediated. While this is a promising start, oil companies–not everyday Californians–must be held financially accountable for the costs of remediation. 

Facing a sizable surplus, Gov. Newsom has made historic investments that provide the potential to tackle some of California’s most pressing problems. His action on oil well cleanup and capping should be just the beginning. Members of Last Chance Alliance believe he must follow these promising first steps with a comprehensive plan for transitioning CA off fossil fuels and make workers and communities whole, as well as address the ongoing public health crisis facing communities living near drilling.

In response to Gov. Newsom’s budget revision, members of Last Chance Alliance issued the following statements:

“Fossil fuel workers in Kern County are losing their jobs in real time. Meanwhile, 300,000 oil wells and contaminated sites await clean-up and pose a current risk to communities.” said Ingrid Brostrom, Assistant Director with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment. “The Governor has a tremendous opportunity to clean our state, protect our communities, and offer High Road employment opportunities for union workers. Bold ideas, like a California Remediation Workforce, with strong labor protections, livable wages, and union jobs can usher in the kind of labor-environmental justice partnerships that California needs.”

“At this crucial moment in our state’s history, Governor Newsom is increasingly using the tools at his disposal to kick-start economic opportunity and protect Californians from future catastrophes. Newsom’s commitment today to ramp up oil well cleanup and remediation opens the door towards creating tens of thousands of shovel-ready, good-paying union jobs while also protecting communities from toxic pollution. Newsom must include safeguards that require the fossil fuel industry to fulfill its legal obligation to clean up its mess, rather than burdening taxpayers. We urge Governor Newsom to follow these actions with a bold and broad investment agenda that creates long-term career pathways, replaces critical tax base shortages, and other crucial elements of a fair and managed transition off fossil fuels,” said Benjamin Smith, Senior Campaigner, Strategic Partnerships at Greenpeace USA.

“Plugging and remediating oil wells is a critical next step to meet California’s climate goals. As essential as the work itself is making sure that these are high-road, union jobs with strong safety training to protect both workers and nearby residents. All displaced fossil fuel workers and communities disproportionately impacted by pollution must be the first people who get access to these good jobs. That’s a foundational part of what a just transition looks like,” said Veronica Wilson, California Organizer, Labor Network for Sustainability.

“We must continue to push for an economy that prioritizes our frontline communities, climate, and workers, not fossil fuel executives who have exploited our communities, our health, and our clean air and water to benefit their own bottom lines. We must also continue to invest in communities and workers that have relied on fossil fuels, making sure that no one is left behind in a just transition to a clean energy future. On all of these fronts, Governor Newsom’s budget demonstrates a meaningful commitment to plugging oil and gas wells and creating good-paying jobs by tapping fossil fuel workers to clean up existing toxic sites. As the Newsom Administration puts these plans into motion, they must keep both frontline communities disproportionately impacted by oil and gas infrastructure and pollution and union workers at the center of their process — in order to solidify California’s spot as a leader in the global, critical race against climate change,” said Lauren Cullum, Policy Advocate at Sierra Club California.

“Water, housing, clean air and energy are human rights. The Governor’s historic funding for the Transformative Climate Communities Program and proposed $2 billion to address the utility debt crisis are powerful starting numbers. We commend the Governor’s leadership and proposed investments in communities of color and low-income communities struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tiffany Eng with the California Environmental Justice Alliance. “California can and must go further and faster to meet our climate and equity goals. With an unprecedented surplus, now is the time for Assembly and Senate leadership to fully fund environmental and climate justice priorities for California communities. We urge the Governor and Legislature to consider new ideas – like a California Remediation Workforce program – to create good, High Road jobs while capping dangerous wells and addressing toxic sites.”


Last Chance Alliance is an alliance of more than 750 public health, environmental justice, climate, and labor organizations united to urge Governor Gavin Newsom to end fossil fuel extraction across California and build a just climate future where every community can thrive.

Media Contact: Aimee Dewing,