East Bay officials urge state to ban oil and gas production

Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb, pictured left to right, with Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and Albany Mayor Nick Pilch in front of Alameda City Hall on Wednesday.

Elected officials from Alameda, Oakland, and Albany, citing the growing climate change crisis, urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to ban oil and gas production in the state during a press conference Wednesday at the steps of Alameda City Hall.

“I want you to panic and do something. A very big something,” Albany Mayor Nick Pilch said, while referencing the environmental advocacy of 15-year-old Greta Thunberg.

The local officials are part of group calling themselves “Elected Officials to Protect California.

East Bay cities such as Alameda, Oakland, and Albany are already doing their part of enact legislation that encourages clean energy.

Alameda’s locally-owned power provider, Alameda Municipal Power, provides 100 percent clean energy, as of Jan. 1, Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft said.

Pilch said Albany is looking into whether it can raise utility taxes on natural gas as a way to incentivize the use of cleaner energy forms.

Following Berkeley’s lead, Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb said his council will soon take up legislation to ban natural gas in new housing units.