Two local elected officials — the mayor of Huron and a council member from San Joaquin — on Thursday urged Gov. Jerry Brown to phase out fossil fuel production in California.
Huron Mayor Rey Leon and San Joaquin Council member Jose Ornellas are among 150 local elected officials statewide who signed a letter urging that no more permits be issued for new fossil fuel project.
At a news conference in Fresno, they said they supported the goals of the letter by Elected Officials to Protect America, an advocacy group urging the state to commit to 100 percent renewable energy.
“The disastrous impacts of fossil fuel use, including air pollution, droughts, fires, mudslides, storms and sea level rise, already cost more tan 1,200 lives and $100 billion annually,” the letter states.
Science has linked climate change to petroleum use and Huron is suffering from it, Leon said. It is among the poorest cities in the state and is exposed to emissions from diesel truck traffic nearby on Interstate 5, Leon said.
“We’re in the San Joaquin Valley, the most contaminated air basin in the nation,” he said. “In the city of Huron, our economy has been blasted due to the drought, very much related to climate change. ... Pollution has increased one hundred fold due to the wildfires that are occurring all around us.”
Gov. Brown’s press office said “no jurisdiction in the Western Hemisphere is doing more on climate” than California.
“Clearly, the world needs to curb its use of oil and the phase out is already underway in California where the state is committed to cutting consumption in half,” spokesman Evan Westrup said.
Since 1985, oil production in California has dropped 56 percent, he said.
Last year, California’s oil production declined by about 33,000 barrels per day, the third straight year of reductions, he said.
Eric Payne, a State Center Community College trustee, also signed the letter.