Visiting Scholar, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley
OAKLAND, CA – On Wednesday, August 31, 2022, California state legislators passed Senate Bill 1137, establishing a new 3,200 feet buffer zone between new oil and gas development and residences.
Dr. Seth B.C. Shonkoff, executive director of the energy science and policy research institute PSE Healthy Energy and co-chair of the Public Health Science Advisory Panel tasked with advising the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) on scientific evidence regarding the public health implications of oil and gas development, provided the following statement on the new law:
“Too often, policies designed to protect public health are diluted because of politics. California’s new buffer zone is an important exception. By establishing a 3,200 foot setback between communities and oil and gas wells, California has instituted a nation-leading standard that is firmly based in science. The new law was informed by a team of national health experts and a large body of scientific research, which shows that communities living near oil and gas development have greater risk of respiratory problems and adverse birth outcomes.”