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New political group launches to take on Big Oil over a ban on drilling near schools, hospitals

Joe Garofoli | San Francisco Chronicle | July 26, 2023

A committee backed by environmentalists and community groups  — launched with $500,000 in seed funding by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt — will announce Wednesday it is fighting a November 2024 ballot measure, backed by fossil fuel companies, that would overturn a 2022 law banning drilling within a half-mile of schools and hospitals. 

The new committee, called the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy California, is hoping to counter a ballot measure on the November 2024 slate that is funded with at least $20 million from oil companies called Stop the Energy Shutdown.

Endorsers include the Sierra Club of California, Courage California and a few dozen environmental, social justice and community organizations. Eric and Wendy Schmidt gave $500,000 to the campaign through the Advocacy Action Fund Inc., organizers said.