Newsom seeks ban on new fracking by 2024

California

FILE – In this Jan. 16, 2015, file photo, pumpjacks are seen operating in Bakersfield, Calif. Last year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom called on the state Legislature to ban fracking by 2024. On Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco, introduced legislation that would ban the issuance or renewal of fracking permits starting on Jan. 1, 2022. The bill would also ban all fracking in California, along with other forms of oil extraction such as cyclic steaming, by Jan. 1, 2027. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Friday he wants to ban fracking in the state by 2024 and halt all oil extraction by 2045.

The directive will have the Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division to initiate regulatory action, and have the California Air Resources Board analyze pathways for phasing out the oil extracting process by the target date.

While more rigorous reviews of hydraulic fracturing permits come about, the state is currently implementing criteria in an attempt to protect public health and the environment. This includes:

  • Developing a new health and safety regulation to protect workers and communities near oil fields. 
  • Implementing new regulations that prohibit surface expressions and placing a moratorium on high-pressure cyclic steam injection, which has been linked to surface expressions. 
  • Integrating independent experts from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Department of Finance’s Office of State Audits and Evaluations to recommend further improvements to CalGEM’s permitting process. 
  • Increasing financial bonding requirements on oil companies to ensure adequate closure of defunct wells and clean-up of inactive oil fields.

“The climate crisis is real, and we continue to see the signs every day,” Newsom said. “As we move to swiftly decarbonize our transportation sector and create a healthier future for our children, I’ve made it clear I don’t see a role for fracking in that future and, similarly, believe that California needs to move beyond oil.”

A ban on fracking, introduced by Sens. Scott Wiener and Monique Limon, failed to pass the state Legislature last week.

“We’re thankful the Governor is acting to end fracking in California by 2025 and to plan for the end of all oil production by 2045,” Wiener said. “While we believe an earlier end date is appropriate, at least having a set end date will trigger the long overdue conversation about what a transition away from oil looks like. To date, political paralysis has prevented that conversation from happening. We hope the Governor’s action today breaks that political logjam. Legislative action likely will still be needed, and we’re ready to move that legislation.”

Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing, a process for extracting oil embedded deep underground. Environmental advocates oppose it, citing its harm to the environment and public health.

California would be the largest oil-producing state to ban fracking.

Last year, Newsom ordered regulators to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars in the state by 2035.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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