CREATION CARE COMMISSION
Kern County Oil Well Statement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
18 March 2021
THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF SAN JOAQUIN, CREATION CARE COMMISSION
We have tremendous concern and dismay about the decision of the Kern County Board of Supervisors to allow even more oil well drilling.
Kern County, California has some of the most polluted air in the country due to the extraction & burning of fossil fuels from 78,000+ drilling sites. This pollution disproportionately affects the health of BIPOC & low-income communities and is accelerating the climate crisis.
Yet, the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted to put the oil industry before the health and well-being of Kern communities by passing an ordinance that would add tens of thousands of new toxic wells over the next two decades, posing grave public health & environmental risks.
People who live near oil and gas drilling sites are suffering from fossil fuel pollution-induced diseases. More and more studies link proximity to oil and gas wells to a host of harmful health impacts, including cancer, high risk pregnancies, asthma and other respiratory ailments. Now, research shows that those who live in heavily polluted areas have a higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19.
In California, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and people of color and Low-Income Communities are disproportionately affected by these serious, costly health impacts. A minimum setback of 2,500 ft between oil and gas extraction and our homes, schools, healthcare facilities will immediately protect communities. It’s time to stand up for public health and environmental justice in the year of a pandemic. In an unprecedented time, we need leadership that will match the urgency of this moment. Nobody should die because of their zip code.
We will continue to #StandWithKern & call on state decision makers, namely state legislators and CalGEM, to right this wrong by passing and enacting policies to protect our communities and environments in Kern County now and for the years to come! #YesOnSB467
Advocates/Animators Meet for the first time!
Watch as they plan how they will interact with their local communities.
BISHOP DAVID RICE
The Beginning of a Commission
One of the things we didn’t anticipate was the extraordinary response during the season of Lent in 2019 concerning the Creation Care pledge. Every clergy person, Deacon, Priest and Bishop, made said pledge. Additionally, a significant number of you, our San Joaquin faithful, also made the pledge. This pledge making led to a significant number of conversations throughout the diocese, and we believe, prompted us to contemplate and consider the urgency of caring for our creation, and specific ways we, individually and collectively, can make a difference.
In some of our communities we have reduced the use of single use bottles; in other communities, we have completely negated the use of single use bottled water. We have installed energy efficient lighting, or solar panels. And we are considering strategies to drive less, and other ways we can reduce our carbon footprint.
In this context, the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is endeavoring to go deeper. We are implementing a Creation Care Commission to inspire and support us living into chapter two of our creation care lives. I have asked The Rev. Terrance Goodpasture, Deacon to serve as Creation Care coordinator for the diocese. He has accepted this assignment, and thus co-authors this correspondence with me.
The Commission will be Diocesan appointed in efforts to support Creation Care strategies across the Diocese. In order to ensure that congregations are resourced to do this ministry Diocesan Commision members will work in conjunction with local advocate/animators. In short order, Deacon Terrance will be reaching out to you, as leaders in your faith communities, to discuss local discernment and road mapping. We will be supplying a template for local discernment for your endeavor to select advocate/animators from your local community who will be supported by the Commission. We will invite you to discern who might serve locally as your faith community’s Creation Care advocate/animator.