Six Ways to Help End California Neighborhood Oil Drilling


Today, millions of Californians live in neighborhoods within a mile of an active and polluting oil or gas well. One main reason: There are no statewide regulations that keep oil and gas wells away from the places where people live, work and study.

The effects have already been devastating, especially for people in low-income communities and communities of color. They face a variety of increased health risks, from asthma to premature birth to cancer. Nearby drilling also threatens them with the possibility of oil spills and worsens climate change.

Fortunately, California Governor Gavin Newsom recently proposed a rule that would require a 3,200-foot buffer zone between new oil wells and people’s homes, offices and schools. This would also limit the impact of existing boreholes on the communities. Here’s how you can help support the rule, which is currently open for public comment.

1. Submit a written comment.

Public comments can go a long way in influencing decision makers. So this is your chance to play a role in our democracy. Tell California officials they must protect communities from dangerous neighborhood drilling. If you are directly affected, explain how; providing a personal story paints a picture of what’s really at stake. Help us reach our goal of submitting 10,000 public comments by the December 21 deadline!

2. Get a quick primer.

Need more context? Read this NRDC blog describing the history of this struggle, including the oil industry’s lobbying efforts to stop setbacks and the scientific evidence linking drilling to increased risk of respiratory injury and poor birth outcomes. Then learn about community activists like VISIÓN, STAND-LA and other grassroots groups who are striving to continue drilling away from their neighborhoods and tackling the underlying environmental racism.

3. Share your story.

Record a video or take a selfie to explain to California executives why you care about ending neighborhood drilling. Use our new share your story tool to upload your post to social media and be sure to tag @NRDC in your post.

4. Start the press.

Write a letter to the editor of your article to help keep this issue out of the public eye. Use our letter writing tool to get started. And remember, every letter published in California newspapers, large and small, has the potential to reach a large audience.

5. Test your knowledge.

Ready to show off your expertise on oil drilling in California? Text CA DRILLING to 21333 * now to take a quick quiz. The more you know, the more effective your advocacy becomes.

6. Tap into the power of art.

Download and share the gorgeous graphic (featured above) by California artist Smug Morenita on your social pages to raise awareness.

* By sending CA DRILLING by SMS to 21333, you agree to receive urgent recurring SMS from NRDC on your mobile phone from 21333. Recurring messages; Messages and data rates can be applied; text STOP to stop at any time, or HELP for more information. Read our privacy policy. stories are available for republication online by media or nonprofit organizations under these conditions: The author (s) must be credited with a signature; you should prominently note that the story was originally published by and link to the original; the story cannot be changed (beyond simple things such as the elements of time and place, style and grammar); you may not resell the story in any form or grant reissue rights to other outlets; you cannot republish our material wholesale or automatically — you must select stories individually; you may not repost photos or graphics on our site without specific permission; you should send us a note to let us know when you’ve used any of our stories.

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