On behalf of our many thousands of members and supporters, the following organizations support AB 1501 (Rendon), which would help reduce the negative air quality and climate impacts of oil and gas development. The drilling, stimulation and operation of oil and gas wells have many documented air quality impacts, including emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane, and health harming and ozone forming volatile organic compounds (VOC's). This bill would help limit these negative impacts of oil and gas production in California, and help the public and regulators better understand the impacts of this industry.
Oil and gas industry emissions of methane, – a greenhouse gas that is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term, is not adequately regulated in California. In order to achieve our state's climate goals, California must take aggressive action to address this source of GHG emissions. AB 1501 would do just that.
In addition to the climate benefits of regulating methane, there are co-benefits to health that result from limiting leaks. Over 5 million Californians live within one mile of an active oil well and are exposed to the numerous health harming compounds that have been detected near oil development sites. Californians at Risk details a recent investigation by Earthworks and Clean Water Fund in two communities living near oil development facilities- Lost Hills in Kern County and Upper Ojai in Ventura County. The investigation identified the presence in these communities of 15 air pollutants known to have negative effects on human health, as well as 11 compounds for which no health data is available. In addition, residents in both communities reported odor issues likely related to the oil and gas development close to their homes. Health surveys conducted in both communities showed evidence of health effects that is consistent with contaminants that are associated with oil and gas and which were detected through air sampling, such as nosebleeds, headaches, sinus problems, and skin rashes.
Despite an abundance of evidence of potential air quality impacts on human health from oil and gas development in other states, the State of California has never undertaken a comprehensive health impacts assessment of this industry, and has failed even to monitor emissions from oil fields in the most impacted communities. AB 1501 would require air monitors near oil production sites, a key first step in understanding the health and climate impacts of this industry.
AB 1501 would help to limit and expose some of the many environmenta land health threats of oil and gas development, and for this reason we strongly support this bill.