central california environmental justice network



Arvin resident, Francisco Gonzalez, shared his story at the Big Oil Reistance Tour Community Action Event in Lamont, CA.


In 2014, The community of Arvin faced a huge danger, they were at risk of exploding. A gas leak occurred, with gas seeping from electric plugs in residents’ homes. The source of the problem was traced back to pipes from an oil drilling company running beneath the homes, resulting in a hazardous gas leak. Residents were only given two hours to evacuate, and were displaced for nine months.

The southern San Joaquin Valley is home to 80% of the oil extraction in California. Operating right next to communities, oil wells leak toxic contaminants into California’s pivotal communities. CCEJN’s work measuring oil and gas emissions, and violations committed by these facilities, began in 2014. In 2015, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), invited CCEJN to join a statewide project being implemented in collaboration with the Global Community Monitor (GCM). This project had been collecting information about potential community health threats by documenting toxic air pollution from oil and gas development sites in California.The work has evolved beyond the partnership, CCEJN continues training residents of Arvin, Shafter, and most recently Lost Hills, on how to monitor and report oil and gas related emissions. Special inspections conducted by the two agencies at the end of May 2023 discovered 27 idle oil wells leaking Methane; these wells are located within 3,200 feet of homes, and 3 of them are within 1,000 feet of schools. These leaks are a danger to public health, and the explosive levels in some places are an imminent public safety risk. 

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