Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on Friday to ban fracking by 2024 and laid out his plan to phase out oil production statewide by 2045.
California has been one of the largest oil-producing states in the country with the majority of production centered in the Central Valley’s Kern and Kings Counties.
Feeling simultaneous pressure from environmentalist and the oil industry, Newsom landed on the side of the environment issuing his bold proposal as a petition for his recall is expected to qualify for the ballot next week.
Newsom’s announcement came a week after state lawmakers voted down a closely watched bill to ban fracking. Two state senators introduced SB 467, but it died last week in committee after bipartisan opposition.
According to The Nooner, Newsom had asked lawmakers for such a proposal last fall arguing that he didn’t have the authority to ban fracking on his own. But environmental, legislative, and industry sources insisted Newsom could rely on his emergency powers, or just simply direct state regulators to use their existing authority.
And that is exactly what he did.
Under Friday’s directive, CalGEM will immediately initiate the rulemaking to halt the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.
In a statement issued from the governor’s office he said, “The climate crisis is real, and we continue to see the signs every day,” said Governor Newsom. “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.”
Central Valley Democrats and Republicans roundly criticized Newsom for his emergency order and fear the double hit from the drought and attack on the oil industry will devastate the Central Valley economy.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy and State Senator Shannon Grove immediately issued statements condemning the plan. McCarthy said, “Unfortunately, nearly 366,000 good-paying jobs supported by the oil and gas industry in our state, 71% of which come from right here in Kern County, are now at risk of being jeopardized. This move will also drive-up gas prices at the pump and lead California away from energy independence,”
State Assembly Member Rudy Salas, D – Bakersfield said, “The Governor’s unilateral actions without legislative authority is an abuse of power. While I share the vision for a cleaner future, the Governor’s actions today have put the lives, economy and well-being of thousands of California families in jeopardy. The Governor’s actions will lead to people losing their jobs and paychecks and thus their ability to put food on the table to take care of their families. Unfortunately, the Governor’s actions will only lead to more pollution, cost Californians good paying jobs and will force additional imports from tankers from overseas countries who do not share California’s same high standards for environmental protection nor human rights.”
State Senator Melissa Hurtado D – Sanger, issued the following statement Friday:
“The Governor’s actions could not come at a worse time for the Central Valley, which is already reeling from a drought that – together with this decision – may cause a national food crisis. Energy makes up 19 percent of the American food supply chain. Make no doubt the cost of food will increase and severely impact the health of vulnerable communities who are already struggling. We cannot repeat the food crisis of 1974. The potential consequences of a food crisis extend beyond the Central Valley and California. We can all do better and be part of the solution.”
According to the governor’s statement on his order, “under Governor Newsom’s direction, CARB will evaluate how to phase out oil extraction by 2045 through the Climate Change scoping plan, the state’s comprehensive, multi-year regulatory and programmatic plan to achieve required reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
“Inclusion of the target in the Scoping Plan means that phasing out oil extraction becomes a part of California’s blueprint to achieve economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2045. CARB will evaluate economic, environmental and health benefits and effects of eliminating oil extraction. CARB’s scoping plan process will be informed by cross-sector collaboration and public input focusing on benefits in disadvantaged communities, opportunities for job creation and economic growth as we achieve carbon neutrality.”