Posted on May 4, 2024

By Haleemah Atobiloye, Program Manager

In recent weeks, with your support, we have championed initiatives at the intersections of health, environmental, economic, and racial justice.

Here’s what you helped make possible:

We endorsed a letter to California’s Senate and Assembly Committees on Labor, Public Employment, and Retirement, urging the pension plans CalPERS & CalSTRS to enhance their sustainability plans by divesting from the top 200 fossil fuel companies. 

Despite steps toward climate solutions, these pension plans, some of the largest in California, still have substantial investments in the fossil fuel industry that continue to undermine our environment and public health. This divestment is crucial not only for our planet’s health but also for reducing our risk of developing breast cancer, which is exacerbated by environmental pollutants.

We’re also backing Assembly Bill 3155, California’s Oil Well Liability Bill, which marks a pivotal step toward accountability. This legislation will hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for the health harms caused by pollution from their operations, which significantly increases risks such as asthma, respiratory problems, prenatal defects, and cancer, particularly affecting low-income communities and people of color.

For those living within 3,200 feet of oil and gas production facilities for the past two years and experiencing these health harms, this bill establishes a liability presumption, compelling fossil fuel companies to cover healthcare costs.

Similarly, we supported the urgent cleanup of idle oil wells through California Assembly Bill 1866, addressing the serious health risks posed by carcinogens like benzene. These inactive wells, if left unaddressed, threaten the health of nearby communities, particularly communities already bearing the brunt of decades of environmental racism.

We’ve advocated for the phasing out of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) alongside national partners, we continue to challenge a practice that fills our environment with carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, firmly maintaining that breast cancer prevention is tied to reducing exposure to toxic chemicals.

In holding Big Oil accountable, we also endorsed California Assembly Bill 2716—the Low-Producing Well Accountability Act. This legislation imposes a fine of $10,000 per day for inactive oil wells that continue to harm community health, emphasizing that financial penalties are necessary to compel industry responsibility.

Our support for California’s Senate Bill 1497, the Polluters Pay Climate Cost Recovery Act, is a demand for justice. It requires the largest fossil fuel polluters to pay for the damages they’ve caused, and to fund vital climate projects, asserting that those who profit at the expense of public health, contributing to diseases like breast cancer, must be financially accountable.

Each of our legislative advocacy efforts is taken with an intersectional approach to health justice, highlighting our belief that breast cancer, a complex disease, will be most effectively addressed through radical, systemic solutions.

Thank you for standing with us, and raising your voice to demand an end to the breast cancer crisis.