Mark Ruffalo Calls on Jerry Brown to End Use of Fossil Fuels in California

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Actor and environmental activist Mark Ruffalo is calling on California Gov. Jerry Brown to end the state’s usage of fossil fuels for oil extraction and move to 100 percent renewable energy.

In a post on his Tumblr page, the Avengers star says contaminated wastewater from the oil extraction process is being used on California crops.

A scientist from Ruffalo’s nonprofit organization Water Defense told the Los Angeles Times in May that samples of treated irrigation wastewater bought from Chevron contained chemicals toxic to human beings, including acetone and methylene chloride. The water is reportedly used on tens of thousands of acres of farmland in California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley, but its level of contamination remains unclear.

In a statement, Ruffalo called on Brown to conduct “more research and testing before he can continue this process without endangering the public health and welfare.”

Add your voice to the public dialogue and hold Governor Brown accountable for his decisions,” Ruffalo wrote, providing links to Brown’s social media accounts and his office’s phone number. “Tell him that he needs to stop irrigating our crops with contaminated water. Tell him that he needs to stop relying on increasingly destructive fossil fuel extraction processes, and start making the transition to renewable energy immediately.”

The oil industry contests Water Defense’s findings. In July, a study conducted by Chevron found no traces of methylene chloride in its treated wastewater. The oil giant also claimed that any traces of acetone found in its water was likely the result of natural biological processes.

Chevron sells 21 million gallons of treated oil field wastewater per day to the Cawelo Water District, which in turn sells the water to 90 farmers in Kern County.

In February, Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) introduced legislation that would require greater transparency in the wastewater treatment production process. Pavley stressed the necessity of “regulatory accountability” to “make sure the safety of the state’s drinking water supply is preserved.” Pavely’s bill, SB 248, has since stalled in the Legislature.

Ruffalo has long been an advocate for environmental issues. In June, he teamed up with fellow actor Leonardo DiCaprio to launch the “100%” renewable energy initiative, which aims to make renewable energy sources more affordable. Ruffalo told Page Six that New York’s green energy efforts were more successful than California’s, and vowed to pressure Brown into action.

“This is really mankind’s greatest threat, and it should take some serious problem solving on all of our parts,” Ruffalo told the paper. “And we don’t really have to give up anything to do it.”


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