California governor seeks ban on new fracking by 2024

‘When you look at the science, we can’t be extracting oil after 2045’

Louise Hall
Saturday 24 April 2021 12:59
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Fracking well sites in Pennsylvania

California governor Gavin Newsom has announced plans to halt all new fracking permits in the state starting in 2024, in a move aimed at tackling the area’s powerful oil and gas industry.

Mr Newsom, who will likely face voters in a recall election this year, made the bold order on Friday, also saying he will halt all oil drilling by 2045.

If his intentions to ban fracking are successful, California would become the largest oil-producing state to prohibit the practice.

"California needs to move beyond oil," Mr Newsom said in a news release, to "create a healthier future for our children."

“I’ve made it clear I don’t see a role for fracking in that future,” the governor added.

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of extracting oil and gas embedded in rock deep underground and accounts for a small portion of the state’s oil and gas production each year.

However, environmental advocates have long sought to boycott it because of its harmful effects on the environment and public health.

Last year, Mr Newsom asked the California Legislature to ban the process, saying he did not have the authority to ban fracking on his own.

Two state senators, both Democrats, made an attempt to halt the practice but last week their bill died in the Legislature because not enough lawmakers supported it.

The governor has also set his eyes on a bigger goal of ending all oil production in the state by 2045 and has ordered state regulators to plan the route to do so.

The order akss the California Air Resources Board to figure out how the state can end oil production in a “very rigorous, open, transparent, analytical process.”

On Friday, WSPA President and CEO Catherine Reheis-Boyd vowed "to fight this harmful and unlawful mandate."

"Banning nearly 20 per cent of the energy production in our state will only hurt workers, families and communities in California and turns our energy independence over to foreign suppliers," she said.

Mr Newsom said that on the basis of "science” the state cannot be “extracting oil after 2045.” The governor added: "That’s the only way we are going to achieve our carbon goals is by significantly reducing and ending extraction of oil."

California was once one of the largest oil-producing states in the nation but by 2020, the state’s oil production fell to its lowest level in state history, down 68 per cent from its peak in 1985.

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