Big Oil wants to be your neighbor, take action to make them a good neighbor

  • Posted on 5 December 2022
  • By Angeles Chapter Communications
Living in Southern California means having oil drilling somewhere nearby. It has been this way for almost 100 years. Just look at historic photos of communities like Huntington Beach and there are forests of oil derricks. Big Oil likes being your neighbor, and as a California resident, you just had to live with this fact until a newly passed law. The law suggests that Oil and Gas interests have been a bad neighbor. Apparently, they have been a bad neighbor to enough Californians to get a law put on the books to kick them out and keep them out starting next month.
Next month, a law called SB1137 will ban new oil and gas production with 3,200 feet of homes, hospitals and schools.  This is a big deal because in California nearly 3 million residents live within 3,200 feet of oil and gas operations.
This law was the achievement of decades of activism, but it is under threat even before it goes into effect on January 1, 2023. Rather than protect public health, Oil and Gas interests focused on using money to get their way. Mean rich neighbors can be the worst kind of neighbor. Worse than being a bad neighbor, they are trying to figure out a way to roll back the new law and go back to their old ways of profits over their neighbors’ health and quality of life.
Oil interests have begun a petition to stall and repeal the law. Who would sign a petition that would allow oil wells within 3000 feet of their homes?  According to reporter Lisa Gross of Inside Climate News canvassers backed by the oil industry are Telling California Voters that a Ballot Measure Would Ban New Oil and Gas Wells Near Homes. In Fact, It Would Do the Opposite!
Oil interests have been pouring a great deal of money into preventing this and similar legislation. Not satisfied with winning on the issues of offshore oil drilling, oil interests continue to use profits from the pump to influence your local elected officials.
According to Dan Bacher of the Daily KOS 8 oil companies, who currently operate thousands of wells within the banned distance of 3200 feet from homes, schools, hospitals and other facilities, have contributed $7.5 million of the total $9.2 million raised to overturn the law by gathering signatures to qualify a referendum, according to the groups. His charts and analysis makes for interesting reading.
What can you do?
1) DON”T BE FOOLED BY CANVASSERS THAT MISREPRESENT THEIR PETITION and make sure your neighbors and friends are knowledgeable enough to ask the right questions when asked to sign a oil and gas related petition.
2) If you think you already signed the industry’s referendum petition — you can remove it by emailing your county elections office (find their emails at a letter containing the following: 
Petition title, Date, Name, Address, Signature, A sentence saying you want to be removed
3) Report petitioners if you see any blatantly lying/acting against the rules.
What can be filed as a complaint? If anyone witnesses any of the following, they can fill out a complaint:
Petition Initiative and Circulator Violations
  • As a petition circulator, intentionally misrepresenting the contents, purport or effect of that petition to a prospective signer – Elections Code section 18600
  • Obscuring the Attorney General’s summary of the measure from a prospective signer – Elections Code section 18602
  • Exchanging money or valuable consideration for petition signatures – Elections Code section 18603
  • Circulating a petition, knowing it contains false, forged or fictitious names – Elections Code section 18611
  • Signing a petition more than once or signing knowing that you are not qualified to sign it – Elections Code section 18612
  • Subscribing fictitious names or the name of another to a petition – Elections Code section 18613
  • Threatening a petition circulator with assault or battery or inflicting damage on a circulator’s property or that of the circulator’s relative – Elections Code section 18630
  • Other violations include lying about whether you’re paid or volunteer (§ 18600(c)), and refusing to allow someone to read the whole petition (§18601)
4) Share our toolkit on social media
5) Visit our Take Action page highlighting environmental issues of interest to SoCal residents. 
6) Join our Chapter’s Mailing List for those interested in Oil & Gas issues by calling (213) 387-4287 
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