Newsom’s “California Way” Fails on Climate and Drought

Newsom says “fighting polluters, not bolstering them” is a priority but remains silent on ending new oil and gas permits.

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Climate and EnergyClean Water

For Immediate Release

Sacramento, CA – While Governor Gavin Newsom’s fourth State of the State address coincided with the worst drought California has seen in 1,200 years, he offered no concrete steps to tackle the drought or the primary driving force behind California’s warming climate: fossil fuel extraction. Newsom signaled a priority in “fighting polluters, not bolstering them,” but offered no plan or intentions to halt new oil and gas permits, something environmental advocates have urged as the most immediate way to fight climate change and preserve California’s scarce water resources.

The oil and gas industry swallows millions of gallons of freshwater annually that could otherwise go to households, but Newsom has delayed a phaseout of oil drilling in California until 2045, a date environmental and frontline community advocates decry as far too late to avert the worst impacts of climate change. The latest polling indicates fewer than a quarter of Californians believe Newsom is on track in dealing with the drought. The subject was not featured in the governor’s address. Meanwhile, the same poll shows a six point drop in his support among progressives over six months. 

“Governor Newsom’s climate and drought policies are deeply flawed and his State of the State address reflects that,” said Food & Water Watch’s California Director Alexandra Nagy. “Every new oil and gas permit that Newsom’s administration grants is a step backward for California’s climate and communities and a missed opportunity to protect scarce freshwater resources.  If Newsom truly wants to take up the mantle of climate leadership, he needs to issue an immediate moratorium on oil and gas development. Without concrete steps to protect our climate and water, Newsom’s grand plans for California’s climate leadership are only empty words.”

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Contact: Jessica Gable, (202) 683-2478, [email protected]