California is taking the necessary steps to address the environmental injustices caused by its oil and gas policies. Taxpayers' money should be used to support workers and communities in the transition to a clean economy, not to subsidize and limit the stakes of oil executives. The leak of an oil pipeline off the coast of Orange County is just one example of the incessant damage caused by drilling, production and combustion. Studies have shown that living close to upstream oil and gas production increases the risk of adverse health consequences.
The rising sea levels, unprecedented temperatures, extreme weather disasters, and increasingly unstable environmental conditions make it more expensive and difficult for oil and gas companies to operate in environments that have been altered by their own destructive practices. In response, a major oil company sued the county, so Earthjustice has stepped in to defend the ordinance on behalf of local groups. This is an opportunity to end subsidies to the oil industry and invest resources in a just economic transition, in the conservation of carbon sinks and in a drastic reduction in carbon emissions. It is a promising step to protect California communities from oil and gas pollution and create a path to a clean energy future that ends the centuries-old injustices of California's oil and gas policies. Some California jurisdictions are pushing for more than just restrictive protections and are promoting the total elimination of oil and gas drilling.
Audubon estimates that in North America alone, 389 bird species could become extinct if humanity doesn't act together, including those found in Orange County. Other oil-producing regions are not invulnerable to changes such as those taking place in the melting of the Arctic and the storm-ravaged Gulf coast. Oil rigs dot Southern California's cities, but are often hidden from view by high fences, green paint and the magic of Hollywood, with hidden structures such as fake buildings, towers, and “oil islands” adorned with palm trees in Long Beach. As oil reserves dwindle after decades of extraction, companies are turning to even more polluting techniques, using a large amount of toxic chemicals to extract the last remnants of crude oil. Research shows that babies born near oil and gas wells are more likely than average to suffer health threats, such as premature births, heart defects and low birth weight.
Ventura County coastal leaders are committed to limiting climate emissions and protecting communities from runaway oil and gas development. Californians living near oil and gas wells are exposed to a mix of air pollutants that are linked to asthma, cancer, pregnancy complications, premature births, and an increased risk of dying from COVID-19 due to long-term exposure to air pollution. The impacts of oil and gas industry on Orange County are far-reaching. From environmental degradation caused by drilling activities to health risks posed by air pollution from burning fossil fuels, it is clear that this industry has had a detrimental effect on local communities. It is essential that we take action now to protect our environment from further damage caused by these activities.
We must invest in renewable energy sources such as solar power or wind energy instead of continuing to rely on fossil fuels. We must also ensure that workers affected by this transition receive adequate support so they can find new jobs in clean energy industries. It is time for us to take responsibility for our actions and make sure that we do not continue down this path of destruction. We must work together to create a cleaner future for Orange County that will benefit all its citizens. By investing in renewable energy sources, providing support for workers affected by this transition, and limiting subsidies for oil executives, we can ensure that our environment remains healthy for generations to come.