Limón Introduces State Legislation to Ban Fracking
By edhat staff
California Sen. Monique Limón wrote a state bill to ban hydraulic fracking and other oil extraction methods that pose risks to the environment and public health.
Last week Sen. Limón and Sen. Scott Wiener introduced Senate Bill 467, which halts the issuance or renewal of permits for hydraulic fracturing (fracking), acid well stimulation treatments, cyclic steaming, and water and steam flooding starting January 1, 2022, and then prohibits these extraction methods entirely starting January 1, 2027.
SB 467 will also prohibit all new or renewed permits for oil and gas extraction within 2,500 feet of any homes, schools, healthcare facilities, or long-term care institutions such as dormitories or prisons, by January 1, 2022. The bill cites that oil extraction near people is extremely harmful to people’s health and overwhelmingly occurs near low-income and minority neighborhoods, causing significant negative health impacts.
"These production and extraction methods have been shown to pose significant risks to the environment and public health, particularly when conducted within 2,500 feet of human activity. The legislation also contains provisions to facilitate a transition of oil workers to jobs in well remediation and sealing," according to a press release from Sen. Wiener's office.
The bill states only 5-15% of oil is recoverable when an oil or gas well is drilled without using additional production and extraction methods. These methods can include hydraulic fracturing, acid well stimulation treatments, cyclic steam operations, and water and steam flooding. The impacts of these methods can cause an increase in earthquakes and sinkholes, water contamination, and oil spills. They also can cause serious and life-threatening complications to surrounding communities.
“Climate change is not a theoretical future threat — it’s an existential threat to our community and is having devastating impacts right now,” said Sen. Wiener. “We have no time to waste, and California must lead on climate action, including transitioning to a 100% clean energy economy."
Due to climate change, California has experienced years of extreme drought and water shortages. In 2014 in California, with hydraulic fracturing alone, oil producers used nearly 70 million gallons of water. Additionally, water used for enhanced oil extraction is likely to never re-enter the usable water supply due to the levels of contamination these practices cause, according to a press release.
“As I often say, ‘if there’s not a bill, there’s not a conversation,’ and it is necessary to have these conversations at the state level about environmental impacts and public health as oil production continues near our homes and schools. This bill continues robust policy conversations on fossil fuels and alternative energy production that have been going on for decades," said Sen. Limón.
“What this bill aims to do is simple: protect people’s drinking water and air from risky oil extraction while providing a piece of the just transition puzzle for affected workers,” said Tara Messing, Staff Attorney for the Environmental Defense Center. “This bill is focused on the most extreme and dangerous forms of unconventional oil production. Last year, the Governor signaled it was time to stop this type of oil development and the legislature has now come up with a solution. This bill would not only be a win for our environment and climate, but also for the health of our communities.”
The full bill can be read here.