Sofia Pereira & Mike Wilson: Bold and immediate action is needed to phase out fossil fuels

As California prepares to host the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco from September 12 to 14, we are urging Governor Brown to stand with us and more than 200 local elected officials across the state who are fighting to phase out fossil fuel production in California. @caelectedofficials.org

Communities in Humboldt County and the North Coast are on the frontlines of climate change. We are seeing wildfires grow in intensity while bracing for rising seas and increased flooding.

We need bold and immediate action to slow and reverse climate change, and the City of Arcata and Humboldt County are moving in the direction to reduce demand for fossil fuels that drive climate change.

In Arcata, we are meeting these challenges head-on; advancing clean energy, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels with alternative transportation, and, preparing our infrastructure and neighborhoods for rising seas.

Humboldt County and the Redwood Coast Energy Authority are advancing a Community Choice Energy program to provide cleaner energy, with an estimated savings of $20 million a year that we can reinvest in local solar, wind, and other clean energy and efficiency. *

With recent and proposed projects at the the county airport and Blue Lake Rancheria, we will have over 8 MWh solar microgrid storage making Humboldt more energy resilient and energy independent. We’re exploring both offshore and onshore wind energy production that could produce over 200 megawatts of power making Humboldt County a net clean energy exporter.

Our community is moving in the right direction, but the continued extraction, processing, and burning of fossil fuels in California is undermining our progress and is detrimental to our state’s public health, especially for those communities living closest to it.

We truly appreciate Governor Brown’s global advocacy on climate change and advancing clean energy and efficiency. However, these efforts are being frustrated by the expansion of fossil fuels projects in our state. Under his administration, California has drilled 20,000 new oil and gas wells.

That’s why we’re urging Governor Brown to be bolder with his climate leadership and further protect communities across the North Coast and California from the impacts of climate change.

The time is now to begin to phase out fossil fuel production in California.

Together we must combat climate change and build the resiliency, sustainability, and independence that Californians need. Oil and gas production is a major contributor to California’s greenhouse gas polluter with three-quarters of the state’s oil as dirty as tar sands .

The cost of this dirty oil and gas production on California and our climate are mounting. Already, it’s costing Californians more than $100 billion and 12,000 lives annually.

And so we are joining with more than 200 elected officials across Northern California and the state on a bipartisan letter calling on Governor Brown to protect our communities from accelerating climate change by phasing out fossil fuel production. We are asking him to phase out permits for new fossil fuel projects, require a 2,500-foot setback on oil and gas facilities to protect public health, commit California to producing 100 percent clean energy and invest in communities suffering from fossil fuel extraction and processing.

This is the bold climate leadership we need to protect our public health, communities, economies, and our future.

Sofia Pereira is Mayor of Arcata. Mike Wilson is Third District Supervisor of Humboldt County.

Update: Monday morning, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 100, committing California to 100 percent clean electricity by 2045.

* Note: The Union has received the following message from RCEA:

Please note that the following sentence contains an error:

"Humboldt County and the Redwood Coast Energy Authority are advancing a Community Choice Energy program to provide cleaner energy, with an estimated savings of $20 million a year that we can reinvest in local solar, wind, and other clean energy and efficiency."

Savings for customers are $2 million a year, not $20 million. And these dollars stay in the pockets of our customers, to be spent or saved as they choose. In addition to this, we are investing a portion of our energy sales revenues in customer-benefitting programs, to the tune of $400,000 in the first year of the program.

Thanks!
Richard Engel, CEM, director of power resources
Redwood Coast Energy Authority







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