Natalie Risner, mother, wife, and small business owner, was born in San Luis Obispo and is now raising her young girls on the Central Coast. She is a part of the Coalition to Protect SLO County, a grassroots group working to bring a citizens’ initiative to the ballot in 2018 to protect SLO County’s groundwater from risky oil operations.

After attending a BOS commission hearing in 2015 regarding a request for renewal of a ten year old permit for oil wells, including injection wells in the Arroyo Grande Oil Field, she knew she couldn’t be silent. She learned of negligence that state agencies had shown to environmental protections for our water, and with an expansion on the horizon for an additional 350 wells she felt the community needed to know. She has worked with many others to bring attention to and educate community members of the risks to our groundwater and local environment from oil operations.

Her lifelong love of animals and the natural world has always grounded her to respect the earth and its resources. She believes acting locally to protect our environment by keeping fossil fuels in the ground is our duty as one of the richest states’ in the richest countries in the world. We must be the leaders to guide our world towards a renewable energy future. She believes that change must start locally for it to become global; it is our job to do what we can now for future generations.

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