Energy & Environment

State lawmakers propose bill to ban fracking in California by 2027

Two California state senators have introduced a bill that would ban fracking in the state in 2027, according to a statement issued Wednesday. 

The bill, from Democratic state Sens. Scott Wiener and Monique Limón would also halt the issuance or renewal of permits for fracking at the start of 2022. 

It would also prohibit the issuance of new or renewed permits for oil and gas extraction more generally within 2,500 feet of homes, schools, health care facilities, prisons and dormitories by the start of 2022. 

Fracking is a controversial method of extracting fossil fuels from rocks that has been linked to water contamination. 

“Extracting massive amounts of oil — particularly with destructive techniques such as fracking — is totally inconsistent with California’s commitment to a sustainable climate future,” Wiener said in a statement. 

The bill would also direct the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) to identify oil and gas workers who have lost their jobs and prioritize hiring them. 

In the general election, then-President Trump sought to make fracking a campaign issue by casting then-candidate Joe Biden as an opponent of the practice, but Biden stressed that he did not support a fracking ban. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), by contrast, appears to want to phase out the practice in his state. Last year, in an executive order aiming to phase out the sale of gas-powered cars, Newsom also said he wanted to end the issuance of new fracking permits by 2024. 

However, the new bill goes faster and farther than what the governor called for. 

A request for comment to the governor’s office was returned by Lisa Lien-Mager, a spokeswoman for the state’s Natural Resources Agency.

Lien-Mager said in an email that the administration has met with “key members” of the legislature on Newsom’s goal to phase out the fracking permits by 2024 and “looks forward to continued discussions.”

She added that CalGEM is “considering protective setbacks to separate oil and gas extraction from homes, schools and other sensitive receptors” and expects to release a draft rule this spring.

Meanwhile, industry criticized the legislation. 

Rock Zierman, chief executive officer of the California Independent Petroleum Association, said in a statement that the legislation would “devastate the economies of oil producing regions” and “make the Saudi royal family even richer all while eliminating the industry that is investing in the innovation needed to significantly reduce the state’s carbon footprint.”

Updated 9:23 p.m.

Tags California Donald Trump fracking Gavin Newsom Hydraulic fracturing Joe Biden
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