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Abandoned Gas Station in Fort Bragg CA

Climate Crisis Workgroup Presents:
GrassRoots Institute Campaign to Prohibit New Fossil Fuel Stations
In Mendocino County

Stopping new Gas Stations just makes sense: 

  • Avoid possible new toxic chemical leaks and pollution sites

  • Acknowledge that the fossil fuel station business model is ultimately doomed as the shift to electric vehicles (EVs) progresses

  • Make a strong statement supporting the ongoing transition to emissions-free transportation

  • Encourage the County to take action consistent with its 2020 declaration of a Climate Emergency and the need to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Background Facts:

  • Air pollution from vehicle emissions causes thousands of premature deaths each year, especially in low-income/disadvantaged communities

  • Mendocino County has twice as many gas stations as Sonoma County and more than Humboldt County, based on population.

  • Of the 450,000 “brownfield”, polluted sites in the United States, half are a result of petroleum contamination (e.g. old gas stations)

  • According to the California Energy Commission, gasoline sales in Mendocino County are down by 18% compared with 2019

View our Campaign Slideshow!
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Join the Campaign! 

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Sonoma County Leads the Way: 

  • Petaluma was the first city in the nation to pass a new gas station prohibition in 2021.

  • Sebastopol, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Santa Rosa and Windsor followed suit

  • Sonoma County Supervisors passed a county-wide prohibition in 2023

  • Read the Resolution here

“We need to stop investing in fossil fuel infrastructure and start investing in infrastructure that supports a just transition. A ban on new gas stations sends a critical message that the era of climate-disrupting fossil fuels is ending.” -Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, November 20th, 2023

California Climate Goals- Transportation:

  • 2025 - 250,000 EV charging stations statewide

  • 2030 - 5,000,000 EVs on the roads

  • 2035 - No more California registration of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles

  • 2045 - Net Zero Carbon emissions

  • For more information visit ca.gov
     

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Latest News

Mendocino Democrats Endorse No New Gas Stations Movement

On 2/6/2024, The Mendocino County Democratic Party released a resolution calling for a prohibition on the construction of new gasoline stations in Mendocino County. The resolution, which it justifies with factual statements regarding Climate Change and the actions already taken by State and Local authorities, supports the campaign launched by the Climate Crisis Working Group of The GrassRoots Institute late last year. 

The resolution references Climate Emergency Declarations passed by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors in 2020 and in 2023 as well as the ambitious goals set by the State of California to transition away from a dependency on fossil fuels for transportation. Furthermore, the resolution cites the potential health risks gas stations pose when it comes to hazardous materials as well as the fact that fossil fuel infrastructure facilities are typically located in low-income neighborhoods that are disproportionally impacted. 

“Fossil fuel use imposes deep and long-standing racial injustice. In every drop that comes out of a gasoline dispenser, there is a trail of devastation for communities of color and the environment around the world that leads all the way back to the point of extraction of crude oil from the ground in places like Nigeria, Ecuador, and Kern County California. Low-income communities of color in the US and around the world, “frontline communities” are poisoned and/or displaced by effluent and emissions from these operations; low-income communities along rail and roadways are threatened by the hazard of oil and gas transportation; similar historically disadvantaged communities of color near refineries and gas processing facilities, “fenceline communities,” face respiratory disorders, cancer, and death rates much higher than the national average. Indigenous communities around the world are severely impacted by pumping and pipelines;” 

Furthermore, with the ongoing transition to zero or low-emission vehicles, studies have shown that there will be a declining need for gas stations over time and some will likely struggle to remain viable businesses. And, when a gas station goes out of business and the owner declares bankruptcy or otherwise refuses to clean up the site, the public often gets stuck with the costs of remediation. 

Lynne Atkins, Chair of the Mendocino County Democratic Party Central Committee, released the following statement: “The climate science is clear and has been for many years - we need to phase out the use of fossil fuels. Continuing to build fossil fuel infrastructure or gas stations makes no sense, especially when Mendocino County already has a sufficient number of gas stations to meet our needs. Mendocino County Democrats therefore support the GrassRoots Institute’s campaign to prohibit the construction of new gas stations, a campaign that is consistent with the two Climate Emergency Declarations that the County has already passed.” 

Last month, the Climate Crisis Working Group of The GrassRoots Institute (GRI), working collaboratively with local residents, successfully lobbied the Planning Commission to deny a use permit for a proposed new gas station in Redwood Valley. GRI will be pursuing its campaign to prohibit the construction of new gas stations county-wide in the coming weeks and months. For more information, please visit our web page at: 

www.GrassRoots-Institute.org/nonewgasstations

Contact: Donald Hess, MendocinoNewGasBan@gmail.com

Attachment: Mendocino Democratic Party Resolution dated 2/6/2024

State Senator introduces bill to ban local jurisdictions from prohibiting the construction of new gas stations

 

On January 29th, State Senator Aisha Wahab of the East Bay introduced SB 983, a bill that would strip away from cities and counties across the state the ability to control their own land- use decisions regarding the construction of new gas stations. Until at least 2027, when some kind of report is to be completed, cities and counties could no longer pass an ordinance in order to prohibit new gas station construction in spite of citizen demands to do so. To justify this radical measure, the bill references a Mexican gas station study that claims lower prices result when there are new gas stations to increase competition.

 

Curiously, this study is also referenced by propaganda mailings being sent out now in Napa County by the oil industry mouthpiece, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), a major fossil fuel lobbyist in Sacramento. The Mexican Study, however, is irrelevant for the United States since it focused on unusual market conditions when Mexico was exiting a long period of strict price controls on gasoline during which the State Oil Company Pemex had monopoly control. Furthermore, Mexico has far fewer gas stations on a population basis than the United States.

 

This bill must be opposed as a “democracy killing” measure since it effectively bans the ability of local citizens to petition their government to take action related to the climate emergency by prohibiting the construction of unneeded new gas stations. It is regrettable, to say the least, to witness a Democratic State Senator, endorsed by the Sierra Club no less, unwittingly perhaps becoming a shill for the fossil fuel industry.

 

Recommended Action: Contact Assembly member Jim Wood and State Senator Mike McGuire to express your opposition to SB 983.

Read text of the bill here: https://legiscan.com/CA/text/SB983/id/2906514

Mendocino County Planning Commission denies permit for new Redwood Valley gas station

On January 4th, the Planning Commission, on a 4-0 vote, denied a permit application by
Mahmood Alam and the Faizan Corporation for a new gas station in Redwood Valley. The
application was opposed by a wide range of local and County citizens, including the GrassRoots
Institute. Public opposition to the proposal centered on the following:

  • The climate emergency and the need to transition off of fossil fuels

  • The fact that Mendocino County already has a sufficient number of gas stations

  • The deplorable record of the applicant, charged with 64 violations of gas station health and safety violations resulting in a $500,000 fine

  • The complicated site chosen by the applicant, which would require significant changes to
    nearby Hwy 101 to address required traffic safety mitigations

  • The dubious contention that this new gas station would function as a “neighborhood” gas station
    with limited if not negligible effects on local traffic, noise or other undesirable impacts of gas
    stations

The Planning Commission chose to base their denial on a narrow ruling related to the last
reason cited above, which is within their power to deny strictly based on “Land Use” issues.
Since then, the applicant has decided to appeal this decision to the Board of Supervisors, which
has yet to schedule the matter.


Listen to a news report produced by KZYX’s Sarah Reith:
https://www.kzyx.org/2024-01-06/planning-commission-resolves-to-deny-gas-station

From Grist.org
California towns are banning new gas stations. Big Oil is paying attention.

When oil and gas companies attack a climate campaign, activists usually focus on the obvious negative: One of the world’s biggest industries, with its wealth of resources, is trying to quash their efforts to, for instance, ban natural gas in buildings.

But in Northern California, where grassroots activists have succeeded in getting towns across Napa and Sonoma counties to prohibit new gas stations, some consider the emerging backlash a sign of validation.

 

The news of Big Oil’s opposition came to Jim Wilson in late January. The longtime climate activist in Napa County found a flyer in his mailbox one day with a picture of a gas nozzle next to an empty wallet, along with the message “Banning gas stations = higher gas prices.” The mailer, sponsored by the Western States Petroleum Association, the West Coast’s oil industry trade group, warned that efforts to limit new gas stations could lead to less competition and increased costs for the drivers of gas-powered cars.

“I believe that Napa County is the first in the U.S. to have all of the municipalities ban new gas stations,” Wilson said. “And so maybe we’ve rocked the boat.” 

As the urgency of addressing climate change grows across the United States, one unprecedented heat wave and flood at a time, cities are finding ways to cut fossil fuels out of their future. But any action that has meaningful consequences, whether it’s an electrification ordinance in Seattle or a prohibition on new gas stations in California, is bound to grab the attention of the powerful industries it hurts....

Read the full article at Grist.org. By Kate Yoder

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