Hernandez-Thorpe signs first-ever pledge towards a fossil-fuel free Antioch government

Sources: Hernandez-Thorpe and Pacific Environment.

The pledge would reject any new, renewed public investments in gas or oil infrastructure in the city

“It does result in something if any of that comes about.” – Hernandez-Thorpe

Claims current atmospheric river storm is due to climate change caused by fossil fuel use

By Allen D. Payton

Today, Thursday, February 7, 2024, Antioch Mayor Lamar Hernandez-Thorpe made a world-leading commitment to reject public investments in new, renewed, fossil fuel infrastructure in Antioch and steer the city toward timely climate mitigation and resilience. 

“I’ve promised to address climate change head on,” saidHernadez-Thorpe. “We’ve ended oil and gas drilling in Antioch and, today, following a historic atmospheric river caused by climate change that has wreaked havoc across California, I have committed to end investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure. Moving away from fossil fuels will protect the health of our community, our air and water and leave a liveable planet for the next generation.”

Following the mayor’s press conference held earlier in the day, a press release on the matter was issue. It reads, “The pledge is a commitment to reject public investments in new, renewed or expanded fossil fuel infrastructure in the city of Antioch, CA. Fossil fuels are harming our families and communities. The average global temperature on Earth has irreversibly risen by at least 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, with most of this increase occurring since 1975. Fossil fuels, including coal, oil and gas, are the largest contributor to global warming, accounting for 75% global greenhouse gas emissions and 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions.” 

“We applaud the city of Antioch’s first-ever commitment to rejecting new fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Dawny’all Heydari, Climate Campaign Manager, Advocacy for Pacific Environment, which works to protect people, wildlife and ecosystems around the Pacific Rim and the authors of the pledge. “The warnings from the international scientific community and recent catastrophic weather in California make clear that there is no time to waste in moving to a zero emissions world. We call on mayors across the United States and globally to follow Hernandez-Thorpe’s lead and say no to new fossil fuel buildouts.”

The press release further claims, “As a result of fossil-fueled global warming, Antioch will continue to experience longer, hotter and more common heatwaves, and increased flooding from increased chances of extreme precipitation and sea level rise.

In the last week, a historic atmospheric river made worse by the effects of the climate emergency has wreaked havoc on communities across California, causing at least 875,000 power outages, four deaths, record-breaking rain and flooding, and $11 billion in damages to homes and other property.”


By signing the pledge, the Mayor of the City of Antioch has committed to:

  1. Mitigate Climate Change: We will prioritize the adoption of clean energy solutions, such as renewable energy generation, energy efficiency measures, and sustainable transportation systems, to significantly reduce carbon emissions and promote a low-carbon future.
  2. Protect Public Health: By rejecting new fossil fuel infrastructure, we will improve air quality, reduce respiratory diseases, and promote a cleaner and safer environment for all, prioritizing the health and well-being of our residents.
  3. Foster Sustainable Economic Growth: We will stimulate economic growth and create new employment opportunities by investing in renewable energy projects, energy-efficient buildings, and innovative sustainable technologies, supporting local businesses and attracting green investments.
  4. Lead by Example: As city leaders, we commit to lead by example, demonstrating our commitment to climate action, inspiring other cities to follow suit, and contributing to the global effort to combat climate change.

Pacific Environment Rep, Hernandez-Thorpe Clarify His Pledge

Hernandez-Thorpe was asked what public investments and fossil fuel buildouts he is referring to, and if it’s the City’s gas pump used by the city-owned vehicles. Gwen Dobbs of Pacific Environment was asked the same question and passed them along to Heydari.

In response, the Climate Campaign Manager shared, “The mayor is committing to reject new, renewed or expanded public investments in the following fossil fuel infrastructure: oil and natural gas wells and drilling, coal mining, petroleum gas stations, bunkering facilities for ships and planes, power plants (including coal, oil, and natural gas), pipelines, oil refineries, transport terminals, natural gas processing plants, petrochemical plants and gas connections to new buildings.”

But while the city council can vote to approve or deny all those things, the City of Antioch has never invested in them, except for perhaps, possibly gas connections to new buildings that the city builds and owns. Hernandez-Thorpe, Heydari and Dobbs were then asked to further clarify the matter that if, by signing the pledge, the mayor is committing he will not vote to approve another home or commercial building in Antioch that has a connection to natural gas and that all new construction in Antioch must be all electric.

The mayor was also asked to further clarify what he’s committed to not doing and how far and wide the commitment reaches. Specifically, he was asked regarding “transport terminals” if he is also committing to not vote for a deepwater port along the Antioch shoreline if the ships that dock there use fossil fuels.

Challenged with the statement that the pledge really doesn’t mean anything in Antioch since the city doesn’t invest in the items listed, Hernandez-Thorpe provided clarity explaining, “It does result in something if any of that comes about. I would not support something like that. It doesn’t mean it can’t happen in Antioch.”

Speaking specifically about the City’s gas pump in the Maintenance Department’s yard he said, “We wouldn’t want to expand that. But we are working to expand to more charging stations and converting the city’s fleet to all electric. That’s the most obvious example. Our best option was to purchase hybrid vehicles for now, because the supply chain was preventing going all electric, which are matters beyond our control. We have to live in reality.”

Regarding the transport terminals, Hernandez-Thorpe said, “This wouldn’t preclude a deepwater port. What the pledge states is that there are fueling stations for ships. But we’re not stopping a deepwater port from being approved.”

“Our goal is to transition from this but not leave workers behind. There needs to be a balance,” he added.

Follows Other Actions Opposed to Oil and Gas Issues in Antioch

Today’s actions follow two others he has supported to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. In 2021, the mayor, following the lead of current Mayor Pro Tem and District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson and joined by District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker, voted, in a split council action, to not renew the franchise agreement with the company that owns the natural gas pipeline that runs beneath the city. As a result, the pipeline owner, California Resources Production Corporation is suing the city costing thousands in fees to contract attorneys. CALIFORNIA RESOURCES PRODUCTION CORPORATION vs CITY OF ANTIOCH

In 2022, the council voted unanimously to ban future oil and gas drilling in the city, which does not prevent the only person who currently owns drilling rights in Antioch from doing so.

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