Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

August 21, 2018

Youths Demanding Fossil Fuel Extraction Freeze Arrested at California Gov's Office

Six youths demanding a fossil fuel extraction freeze arrested in sit in at Jerry Brown's Office

By Dan Bacher
Censored News

SACRAMENTO, Cal -- As massive wildfires continued to ravage the state, 35 California youth held a sit-in at Governor Jerry Brown's office at the state capitol in Sacramento on Tuesday, August 7, demanding that he freeze new fossil fuel drilling and develop a plan to phase out oil and gas extraction. 

Six of them were arrested Tuesday night as they continued the sit-in in at the door of the Governor's Office after the office closed for the day. 
Before the State Police arrested them, three of the young activists explained why they were willing to risk arrest — and vowed not to back down from their demand that the Brown administration halt new oil drilling.
"My generation is going to feel the biggest effect of climate change and I am sitting here risking arrest because Jerry Brown is not doing enough," said Carmen Bouquin, age 18. "He is putting corporate interests over people and continuing to use his power to contribute to climate change while our communities are feeling the impacts of erratic climate change."
"I am risking arrest because our futures are on the line," said Zoë Cina-Sklar, age 25. "We cannot afford new oil and gas projects, here in California or anywhere else. Neighborhood drilling and climate disasters harm millions of Californians, particularly low-income people and people of color. Politicians like Governor Jerry Brown need to step up and take action to get off fossil fuels, before it's too late."
"I am risking arrest today in solidarity with all those for whom climate change puts so much more at risk: life, family, health, homeland, safety," said Morgan Curtis, age 26: "Governor Jerry Brown, this is you last chance to be a real climate leader. I want you to know we will not back down. Future generations are depending on us."
You can check out the video of the arrests on the Sacramento Bee website:
Earlier in the day, the young activists held banners and addressed the crowd gathered in front of the Governor's Office. Watch the live-stream here:

"California is on fire while our governor continues to sanction new fossil fuel projects," stated 26-year-old Niria Alicia. "It's clear that our generation cannot afford new oil and gas drilling in California. These destructive operations are robbing California youth of our future. We cannot allow this and we must stand."
"This September the world's eyes will be on California for Governor Brown's Global Climate Action Summit. We need Governor Brown to keep fossil fuels in the ground so that my generation and the ones still to come can have a chance for a livable future," she said.
"All of these oil and gas projects need water," added Niria Alicia. "The intensive extraction of fossil fuel threatens our rivers and theatens the salmon and other fish that live in them. The same water is used to frack in the backyards of indigenous migrant farmworkers. We need to keep the water in our rivers and the oil in the ground, if we are to have the chance at a future."
While Governor Brown has portrayed himself as a "climate leader" at climate conferences and other photo opportunities across the globe, Brown has overseen a big expansion of offshore and oil drilling in California. 
Brown's oil and gas regulators have approved 20,000 oil drilling permits in his third and fourth terms as governor, including 12,000 new oil wells.  He has also rejected calls to ban fracking while accepting $9.85 million from oil and gas companies and utilities.
"I have felt the impacts of California oil infrastructure firsthand. Young people cannot accept morally compromised leaders who claim to represent our generation while taking money from an industry that is destroying our air, water and future," said 24-year-old Isabella Zizi, who lives near the Chevron Richmond refinery."Being a climate leader means taking action that aligns with science and justice: stopping new oil and gas development and making a plan to phase out existing fossil fuel production."
The young activists also launched an online youth pledge voicing support for the demands of Brown's Last Chance, a campaign backed by over 800 organizations, more than 100 elected officials, 26 top climate scientists, and several women Nobel laureates, including Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala.
They are all calling on Governor Brown to announce a permanent freeze on new oil and gas projects and a plan to phase out oil and gas production in the state. Tuesday's action also coincided with a week of protests nationwide from the youth-led Sunrise Movement that is calling on politicians to reject fossil fuel money. 
While Brown says he opposes the Trump administration's plan to open new offshore drilling leases in federal waters, the Governor's oil and gas regulators have approved 238 new offshore oil wells in state waters under existing leases off Los Angeles and Ventura counties from 2012 to 2016. That's an increase of 17 percent, according to data released in a report issued by Fractracker Alliance in February 2017. To read the complete report, go to:…(
On June 20, Consumer Watchdog launched a web site that allows you to compare California offshore wells under the control of Governor Jerry Brown and President Donald Trump. The numbers are alarming.
"Brown has called Trump's federal offshore oil drilling short-sighed and reckless, but the site —— shows Brown controls four times more oil wells in state waters than those Trump controls in federal waters," according to Liza Tucker, consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog.
Offshore wells in state waters controlled by the Brown Administration total 5460, versus 1429 offshore wells in federal waters, those three nautical miles or more off California's coast controlled by the Trump administration, according to Consumer Watchdog.
Of the state wells, 2028 are active; 1336 are production wells, while the rest are support wells like wastewater disposal and water flood/steam flood/observation, etc, according to Kyle Ferrar of the Fractracker Alliance. The federal offshore wells include 702 wells listed as active.   
California has prohibited new offshore leases since 1984, but has allowed the expansion of oil drilling in existing leases. Brown has the power as Governor to close down all existing leases and wells through executive action, but he has instead furthered Big Oil's agenda by presiding over the expansion of offshore drilling in state waters.
This failure of the state's regulators to comprehensively protect the ocean from offshore drilling is exposed by the expansion of oil drilling in Southern California waters that began in January 2012 after a network of so-called "marine protected areas" in Southern California waters was created under the helm of a Big Oil lobbyist.
In one of the many conflicts of interests that proliferate among California regulators, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create "marine protected areas" in Southern California from 2009 to 2012. Reheis-Boyd also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast from 2004 to 2012.  
While Governor Jerry Brown receives accolades for his frequent speeches at climate conferences around the world, he is in reality a recipient of millions of dollars of Big Oil and Big Gas money that has promoted the expansion of offshore and onshore drilling in California in his third and fourth terms as Governor.
Consumer Watchdog's report, "Brown's Dirty Hands," reveals how Brown and his top appointees used the California Democratic Party (CDP) as a "slush fund, sucking in contributions from unpopular energy companies in close proximity, and sometimes on the same day, that his Administration helped those companies in controversial ways."
"Twenty-six energy companies including Occidental, Chevron, NRG and the state's three major investor-owned utilities - all with business before the state - donated $9.8 million to Jerry Brown's campaigns, causes, and initiatives, and to the California Democratic Party since he ran for Governor. Donations were often made within days or weeks of winning favors. The three major investor-owned utilities alone contributed nearly $6 million," according to the report. "Between 2011 and 2014, the energy companies tracked by Brown's Dirty Hands donated $4.4 million to the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party gave $4.7 million to Brown's re-election committee."
Since Consumer Watchdog's report was released in 2016, both the California Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) have adopted bans on fossil fuel donations, due to political pressure from Oil Money Out and other organizations:…
However, the oil industry, the most powerful corporate lobby in California, continues to spend millions of dollars on lobbying each Legislative Session and on political campaigns each election season. The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and Big Oil wield their power in 6 major ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) serving on and putting shills on regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups: (5) working in collaboration with media; and (6) contributing to non profit organizations. For more information, go to:… 
While Brown promotes new oil and gas drilling in California, he is also collaborating with the Trump administration on the construction of the Delta Tunnels, considered by opponents to be the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history. The 35 mile long tunnels would devastate West Coast salmon and other fish populations by diverting Sacramento River water before it reaches the estuary, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead on the Trinity River, the major tributary of the Klamath River, that is diverted via a tunnel through the Trinity Mountains into the Sacramento River watershed at Whiskeytown Reservoir.​​​​​​​

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