Patagonia endorses the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy California

Patagonia is joining the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy California as part of the outdoor apparel brand’s 50-year history of supporting grassroots environmental activists.   

The Holdfast Collective, which receives the money that’s not reinvested back into Patagonia’s business, donated $500,000 today to help keep a law in place to protect Californians from oil and gas drilling. Patagonia’s hometown of Ventura is in one of the largest oil-producing counties in California, and more than 8,000 Ventura County residents live within a half-mile of an oil well.   

“There are many important debates happening about how to address climate change, but we should all be able to agree, at the very least, on community safety—especially when families and children are at risk,” said Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert.   

Nearly 30,000 oil and gas wells in California sit within a few thousand feet of homes, schools, hospitals and other public areas, exposing more than 2 million people, disproportionally communities of color, to emissions that cause birth defects, respiratory illnesses and cancer. An independent scientific advisory panel in 2021 advised California officials that a 3,200-foot setback—one kilometer—between oil wells and sensitive receptors is the minimum distance to protect public health.   

The state legislature and Gov. Gavin Newson passed SB1137 in 2022 to require oil companies to strengthen the health and safety standards of existing oil wells within 3,200 feet of homes, schools, day care centers, parks, healthcare facilities and businesses. The law also prohibits new oil drilling within the same buffer zone. However, oil companies paid people to gather signatures and succeeded in adding a question to California voters’ ballots in the Nov. 5, 2024 general election to decide whether to overturn the public safety measures. The law is on hold until voters have their say.   

“Big Oil’s deceptive campaign to try and undermine a new law protecting communities against toxic oil drilling is shameful, and they will stop at nothing to protect their bottom line,” says Darryl Molina Sarmiento, executive director of Communities for a Better Environment, a co-founding coalition member of STAND L.A. and the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy California. “That’s why our broad and diverse coalition, including youth and working families living next to neighborhood oil drilling, will work every day until the election to ensure that Californians vote to keep the law that establishes a 3,200-foot buffer zone from homes, schools and hospitals in place.” 

Patagonia has contributed more than $16 million to support environmental justice work in the last five years alone. The company released the 2020 film District 15 to highlight activists in Wilmington, Calif. working with Communities for a Better Environment to protect residents from oil infrastructure surrounding their neighborhoods. Those activists were instrumental in convincing the state of California to pass the setbacks law. Since 2004, Patagonia has conducted non-partisan environmental campaigns to rally its customers and community to vote for candidates and policies that will protect the planet.   

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