Reiterating the concerns of constituents across the United States whose health and safety is threatened by fossil fuel production and worsening impacts from climate change, Councilmember Daniel Lee joined with more than 300 mayors, state representatives, and elected officials from 40 states in releasing a letter today calling for a nationwide plan to phase out the production and use of fossil fuels and to ramp up renewable energy as part of a green new deal approach to energy and efficiency.
“If we are serious about addressing climate change then we need to be serious about drafting policies that mandate the phase-out of fossil fuels,” said Daniel Lee, Councilmember in Culver City, California. “Anything less is window dressing on the porthole of a sinking ship.”
Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA) released the letter as is a growing initiative of state representatives, mayors, country supervisors, and city council members from across the nation that are demanding an end to the use of dirty fossil fuels that harm their communities.
“Climate change is the most serious threat to the future of humanity, and we have failed to respond with the urgency needed,” said John Marty, State Senator in Minnesota. “It’s time for a strong, consistent, and aggressive response in order to become a 100% fossil fuel-free society.”
“As the world gathers in Poland for the climate talks, it’s imperative that we take the action here at home that really leads the nation and the world,” said Maryland State Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk. “It’s time to end the era of fossil fuel production and build our clean energy future together.”
In light of unprecedented devastation from wildfires in California, destructive hurricanes in North Carolina to Puerto Rico to Hawaii, droughts, and extreme weather throughout the US, the elected officials are urging their peer elected officials across the nation to end permitting for new fossil fuel projects and phase out oil and gas production within a 2,500-foot buffer zone of vulnerable communities, halt public investments and subsidies of fossil fuels, and move swiftly to 100% clean energy.
“The existence of climate change and its potential disastrous impacts have been known for decades. The solutions, primary among which is elimination of the use of fossil fuels, have also been known,” said L.W. Allstadt, Trustee of Cooperstown, New York and former executive vice president of Mobil Oil. “We need to take action now, or we will be condemning our children and grandchildren to the severe physical and societal impacts of climate change and the exorbitant costs of trying to deal with them.”
Drafted by state and local elected officials from across the country at the Global Action Climate Summit in San Francisco in September and launched at the United Nations climate talks in Poland on Thursday, the letter cites the increasingly serious local impacts of climate change and harm to public health throughout America from the production and burning of fossil fuels, including pollution, water contamination, leaks, explosions and other dangers.
“The most important job of local leaders is to keep their communities safe,” said Meghan Sahli-Wells, Vice Mayor of Culver City, California. “The only way we can ensure the health and safety of our constituents is to end fossil fuel production in our communities, and transition to a just, clean, sustainable future.”
The Universal Ecological Fund report have found that climate change is already costing the U.S. economy $240 billion annually from storms, droughts, fires, and sea level rise cost their communities.
“The letter builds on a letter from more than 250 elected officials from a majority of counties in California urging Governor Jerry Brown to phase out fossil fuel production in the state. The letter contributed to Governor Brown signing bill SB 100 into law, requiring California’s electricity to come from 100% renewable sources by 2045.
“We should all be alarmed at the increase in carbon emissions and rapid rate of climate change posing an imminent existential threat to all living things on our planet. We must act quickly, boldly, and decisively to address this critical threat,” said Marina Khubesrian, Mayor of South Pasadena, California. “This includes how we power our cars, homes, and factories for starters.”
The Global Climate Action Summit that Governor Brown and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg convened was blockaded by protesters, chanting “climate leaders don’t frack or drill oil.” Following on dozens of events across the country, the network of officials is pointing to community concerns.
“By committing to this effort jurisdiction by jurisdiction, starting today, we will make a real difference,“ said Michael Dembrow, Oregon State Senator.
The full letter and list of signatories are available at www.uselectedofficials.org.
Alex Cornell du Houx