California will work to end oil extraction as part of nation-leading effort to achieve carbon neutrality Action will halt issuance of fracking permits by 2024

 

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today directed the Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management (CalGEM) Division to initiate regulatory action to end the issuance of new permits for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) by January 2024. Additionally, Governor Newsom requested that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) analyze pathways to phase out oil extraction across the state by no later than 2045.

“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.”

Under today’s directive, CalGEM will immediately initiate the rulemaking to halt the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.

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.

In advance of the phase-out of fracking in 2024, CalGEM’s process for reviewing permits for this practice is the most stringent in the country, and includes input from experts at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. More on the permit review process is available here.

Permit approvals and resulting hydraulic fracturing activity are at the lowest level since the Legislature enacted Senate Bill 4 in 2014 to strengthen regulation of hydraulic fracturing.

In addition to instituting more rigorous review of hydraulic fracturing permit applications, CalGEM continues to operationalize its updated mandate 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.

Earlier this week, the California Environmental Protection Agency announced the release of two independent studies that identify strategies to support the state’s goal to dramatically reduce transportation fossil fuel demand and supply by 2045. The studies analyze the health and safety impacts associated with pollution originating from the extraction and processing of oil and will inform CARB’s scoping plan.

Today’s actions build on the Governor’s September 2020 executive order, which called for an end to fracking and to accelerate California’s transition away from gasoline-powered cars and trucks and reduce demand for fossil fuels. The order also directed agencies to:

  • Develop and implement a just transition roadmap.
  • Propose strategies to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels beyond 2030 with consideration of the full life cycle of carbon.
  • Expedite regulatory processes to repurpose and transition upstream and downstream oil production facilities, while supporting community participation, labor standards and protection of public health, safety and the environment.

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Ballparks, Stadiums, Theme Parks Can Open Outdoors Beginning April 1 with Capacity Restrictions and Other Safety Modifications as Science Indicates Outdoor Activities are Safer

SACRAMENTO – Today, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released updates to the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy reopening framework focused on activities that can be conducted outdoors with consistent masking, two factors that are scientifically shown to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. The updates allow outdoor ballparks, stadiums and theme parks to open with significantly reduced capacity, mandatory masking and other public health precautions. These changes take effect April 1.

Following on yesterday’s announcement of how vaccine equity will be linked to future Blueprint case rate tier changes, today CDPH announced how, guided by science, other sector changes can be introduced into the Blueprint.

“With case rates and hospitalizations significantly lower, the arrival of three highly effective vaccines and targeted efforts aimed at vaccinating the most vulnerable communities, California can begin gradually and safely bringing back more activities, especially those that occur outdoors and where consistent masking is possible,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. “Even with these changes, California retains some of the most robust public health protocols in the country.”

“Throughout the pandemic, California’s business community has been committed to protecting the health and safety of workers and customers – and that won’t change now,” said Dee Dee Myers, senior advisor to Governor Newsom and director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). “We will continue to work together with our partners across all sectors of the economy, as we reopen safely, sustainably and equitably.”

Changes to the Blueprint include: 

  • Outdoor sports and live performances (with fans/attendees) are eligible to begin April 1. In the Purple tier, capacity will be limited to 100 people or fewer and attendance will be limited to regional visitors. Advanced reservations will be required, and no concession or concourse sales will be allowed. In the Red tier, capacity will be limited to 20 percent. Concession sales will be primarily in-seat (no concourse sales). In the Orange tier capacity will be limited to 33 percent and in the Yellow tier capacity will increase to 67 percent. Attendance will be limited to in-state visitors in the Red, Orange and Yellow tiers.

  • Amusement parks are eligible to reopen in the Red tier beginning April 1. Capacity will be limited to 15 percent in the Red tier. In the Orange tier, that limitation will increase to 25 percent, and then 35 percent in the Yellow tier.  Attendance will be limited to in-state visitors.

California will continue to update the Blueprint periodically based on science and vaccination progress. View the updated sector chart to see which activities and businesses are allowed in each tier.

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