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California lawmakers block bill allowing oil companies to sue over health problems

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California legislature blocked two major environmental bills on Thursday. One was to raise state emissions targets and the other was to hold oil companies accountable for the health problems of people living near oil wells.

These are among the hundreds of bills that weren’t left in Congress’ pending files, with lawmakers saying they have no explanation, which bills have a chance to pass later this year, and which bills should go ahead. It is an enigmatic process that determines whether or not

Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law banning drilling of new oil wells within 3,200 feet (975 meters) of hazardous locations such as homes and schools. However, the law has not been enforced, The oil industry qualified for a referendum It asks voters to overturn it on the 2024 ballot.

The referendum enraged environmental and health advocates. They decided that if the oil industry wanted to block that law, they would try to pass another law that would allow people who got sick from getting too close to wells to sue the responsible oil companies. The bill, drafted by Senator Lena Gonzalez, would have required oil companies to pay up to $1 million to people with well-related cancers and other health problems.

“Today we have an important opportunity to advance legislation to hold polluters accountable and prevent further harm to families who are striving to maintain their health and improve their quality of life,” Gonzalez said in a statement. I missed the .

The Senate Appropriations Committee blocked the bill from being voted on the Senate plenary session, so it is unlikely to pass this year. Jamie Court, chairman of the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, criticized Senator Anthony Portantino, who is chairman and a Democrat from Burbank who is running for Congress.

“Such a bill should be considered in the Senate plenary, where millions of people live within 800 meters of an oil well, whose lives and health are threatened every day, and one politician should not be shoved into a drawer by someone,” the court said. Said.

Portantino’s office did not respond to an email seeking comment on why the bill was put on hold.

Kara Green, a spokeswoman for the Western States Petroleum Institute who opposed the bill, said the bill was unfair to oil and gas companies and said it would do more harm than good.

“The billions of dollars and financial chaos that this bill would have caused from state and local government debt, inherited well financial liability, costs to the court system, and more would be substantial,” Green said. Stated. statement.

Malibu Democratic Senator Henry Stern introduced another bill this year that would require the state to cut global warming emissions by 55% below 1990 levels by the end of 2030. The state has already started cutting emissions. By the same deadline he will reduce emissions by 40%.

“The bill’s rejection reflects a dead end that I fear has reached a dead end in California’s climate,” Stern said in a statement. “As the world rushes forward, we may get bogged down in discussions about the way forward.”

California also aims to achieve carbon neutralThis means that by 2045 we will eliminate the state’s carbon footprint. The State Air Resources Board has approved regulations to limit environmental pollution. car, truck, lawn mower, and train.

The bill, which has been debated in the Senate and the Congressional Appropriations Committee, is unlikely to pass this year, with a June 2 deadline looming for passage from the lower house.

Other bills that were voted down include plans to allow people suffering from suicidal thoughts to voluntarily register on a “no sale” list for firearms, and a plan to allow people under the age of 21 to carry their phones, even hands-free while driving. It included a proposal to ban the use of telephones. . A bill to require the Justice Department to investigate all incidents of police use of force that lead to civilian deaths did not pass on Thursday, nor did a bill to expand access to mental health treatment for inmates.

Some proposals, such as a bill to create a mental health hotline for students in the California State University system and a bill to stockpile free menstrual products in government restrooms, have been designated as two-year bills and run through January. means that it will not be voted on.

When a bill is voted on by the Senate or Congress, the passed bill is transferred to the other Houses. Congress has until mid-September to pass the bill, after which Mr. Newsom has about a month to either reject it or sign it into law.

Contributed by Associated Press reporters Adam Beam and Tran Nguyen.

Sophie Austin is a reporting officer for the Associated Press/United States Congressional News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that sends journalists to local newsrooms to report on cover-up issues.

https://www.ksby.com/news/california-news/ca-lawmakers-block-bill-allowing-people-to-sue-oil-companies-over-health-problems California lawmakers block bill allowing oil companies to sue over health problems

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