California’s Leading Environmental and Environmental Justice Groups Reject Recall

March 29, 2021

For Immediate Release


Kathryn Phillips, Director, Sierra Club California (mobile: 916-893-8494)

Denis Dison, Communications Director, NRDC Action Fund (mobile: 202-280-0018)

Mabel Tsang, Civic Engagement Manager, California Environmental Justice Alliance Action (mobile: 650-387-8638)

Stefanie Lao, Press Associate, California League of Conservation Voters (mobile: 424-282-0922)

Sacramento– Today three major statewide environmental groups and an environmental justice alliance representing more than 10 local and regional organizations, announced their opposition to the gubernatorial recall measure expected to be on a fall ballot. The groups are Sierra Club California, NRDC Action Fund, California Environmental Justice Alliance Action, and California League of Conservation Voters.

The ballot measure is the sixth effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom since he took office in 2019. Through a decision by a Sacramento Superior Court judge, the latest petition was given an additional 120 days to circulate due to COVID restrictions on gatherings.

As spelled out in the petition circulated for signatures, the proponents are trying to recall Newsom because they disagree with common-sense policies that most Californians embrace. These include policies as varied as those that protect Californians who are immigrants from harassment, eliminate the use of the death penalty, and require water conservation.

California is one of only 20 states that allow a recall of a governor and has one of the lowest qualification bars for a recall. In California a governor does not have to demonstrate an incapacity or have committed bribery, treason or any other high crime or misdemeanor to be recalled.

Every sitting California governor since 1995 has faced recall attempts. Even Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who benefitted from the recall of Governor Gray Davis in 2003, was himself the subject of seven failed recall petitions. In 2019 alone, Erin Cruz, a twice unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congress and radio entertainer filed nine recall petitions against state-wide elected officials including the governor, lieutenant governor, controller, treasurer, attorney general and insurance commissioner.

Recall petitions, if successful, create expensive statewide elections. They are disruptive and halt progress on policies that Californians need right now. This recall attempt is a distraction from critical issues facing the state, including the dual crises of the pandemic and climate change. Frivolous recall efforts can also discourage smart candidates from entering public service.

 Statements from environmental and environmental justice organization leaders:

“This particular recall effort is the product of polluting industries and their allies who are determined to, among other things, abandon rules that protect the environment, including those that advance efforts to address climate change. If this recall succeeds, we are likely to end up with at least one year of governance by a new administration that will be dangerously focused on rolling back California’s environmental gains.”–Victoria Rome, California Advocacy Senior Advisor, NRDC Action Fund

“We denounce the recall effort led by extremist right-wing forces that over the last four years caused serious harm to Asian, Pacific Islander, Latinx, Black, Indigenous and people of color throughout our country. The recall effort threatens the safety and wellbeing of California’s immigrant and BIPOC communities. Our state must instead be laser-focused on a just COVID recovery and deeply investing in community health and family-sustaining jobs as part of a just transition to a renewable energy-based economy.” —Mabel Tsang, Electoral Manager, California Environmental Justice Alliance Action

“Should we overturn the will of the electorate through a special election based on deceptive, racist ideas promoted by extremists? Absolutely not. We remain loyal to the environment, social justice and democracy. We strongly oppose the recall.”–Kathryn Phillips, Director, Sierra Club California

“CLCV stands behind Governor Newsom during this dangerous recall that will distract from the urgent needs of Californians and waste valuable taxpayer dollars. Our communities are grappling with unprecedented and interconnected economic, public health, and climate crises that require immense government leadership in this moment, which is why this political stunt could have devastating impacts for our families and our future. We can’t derail the life-saving progress that’s being made and will work to ensure voters see through this recall for what it is: a right-wing attempt to undermine our state’s values, and the safety and well-being of Californians. Our state government must remain strong and stay the course.” –Mary Creasman, CEO, California League of Conservation Voters.

Sierra Club California is the legislative and regulatory advocacy arm of Sierra Club’s 13 local chapters in California, representing more than half a million members and supporters.

The NRDC Action Fund is the c4 affiliate of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) 

The California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) Action is a statewide alliance led by Asian, Black and Latinx communities to achieve environmental justice by advancing policy solutions.

The California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) has protected the land, air, water, and health of all California communities by electing environmental champions, advancing critical state and federal legislation, and holding policymakers accountable to combating the climate crisis.

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