Bill to Hold Oil Drillers Legally Liable Fails to Come up for Vote

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 5/24/2024, Location: North America

Legislation holding oil drillers liable for health harms caused by their wells within a half mile of a community failed to come up for a vote on the Assembly floor by the deadline for bills to move to the Senate.

AB 3155 (Friedman) would have held oil drillers legally accountable for birth defects, cancer, and respiratory problems in people who live within a half mile of an oil well that doesn't use the most protective leak control technology that is commercially available.

Chevron spent $3 million lobbying in the first quarter and AB 3155 is the only bill it took a public position against according to CalMatters.

Illnesses and absences in the Assembly, in addition to oil industry lobbying, prevented the author and backers from finding 40 committed votes for AB 3155, what is required by Assembly leadership to bring legislation up on the floor.

"It's disappointing that Assembly members were not required to take a vote on this measure and go on the record about whether they stood with Chevron or communities impacted by their drilling," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog. "There's no question Big Oil's lobbying weakened support for this measure, but you never know how legislators will vote until you put them on the spot. It's troubling that the public won't have a chance to know where their elected leaders stand on a measure of this import to communities across the state impacted by oil drilling."

More than 2.7 million Californians live within 3,200 feet of an existing operational oil or gas well. AB 3155 creates a presumption of liability for illnesses linked to drilling that can be rebutted if the company uses the best pollution control technology or can prove the health problems were caused another way.

A state scientific panel for CALGEM found a link between birth defects and respiratory problems and living within the setback zone. 5 of the top 12 most common toxins at LA oil drilling sites are carcinogens.

64 environmental, consumer and public interest groups came out for AB 3155, sponsored by Consumer Watchdog and the Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment.


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