By Haleemah Atobiloye, Program Manager
Big Oil isn’t just price gouging — they’re using windfall profits to buy ballot initiatives and overturn vital health protections.
Due to the current oil and gas monopoly controlled by five companies, Big Oil can intentionally restrict supply to artificially drive-up prices whenever they want. Even with crude oil prices down, they are jacking up prices in California to make record profits — oil refiners make 30% more profit on the West Coast than the rest of the nation, and Californians pay about $3 more per gallon on average.
We must hold Big Oil accountable and stand firm as they use their record profits to subvert democracy.
California recently passed SB 1137 into law, banning oil and gas drilling within 3,200 ft. of sensitive sites like homes, schools, and playgrounds. Big Oil immediately spent $20 million lying to Californians to secure signatures for a referendum to overturn this historic bill, and they succeeded. SB 1137 is now headed back to the ballot in California.
As a health justice organization, we prioritize fossil fuel work because oil and gas drilling, refining, and manufacturing are primary drivers of the climate crisis we’re experiencing, as described in our ground-breaking factsheet The Climate Crisis and Breast Cancer, thereby increasing our risk for this devastating disease.
As the climate crisis intensifies, so do prevailing health injustices. Black, Brown, Indigenous, and low-income communities are already on the frontlines of fossil fuel impacts and as climate change worsens, these communities will bear an even greater burden of exposure.