California to Phase Out Fossil Fuels
Source: Environmental Defense Center
[On Tuesday] environmental groups celebrate a major victory for the environment and healthy communities upon Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement of three new actions intended to catalyze the State’s efforts to achieve its climate goal of being carbon-neutral by 2045. The State is taking affirmative steps to protect public health and the environment from dirty and risky oil extraction techniques by establishing a moratorium on high-pressure extraction practices, strengthening health and safety protections near oil and gas facilities, and initiating a third-party review of hydraulic fracturing and related permitting. These actions reflect Governor Newsom’s focus on strengthening the regulatory oversight of oil and gas production in California.
This news comes on the heels of a series of controversies this past summer with permitting at the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources as well as the catastrophic spill of nearly one million gallons of crude oil and water into a dry streambed at a Chevron facility in the Cymric Oil Field, Kern County.
“This statewide moratorium comes just after Ventura County’s moratorium on all cyclic steam injection in the Oxnard field after USGS findings of groundwater pollution near steam injection oil operations there," said Katie Davis, Chair of the Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter. “It is increasingly clear that steam injection poses unacceptable risks to our water supplies, as well as being radically counter to our climate goals. The Cat Canyon oil projects, which would drill through the Santa Maria drinking water aquifer, should be stopped cold by Santa Barbara County now.”
“SBCAN joins the environmental community in celebrating the extraordinary steps taken today by Governor Newsom to halt risky oil extraction techniques, like steam injection, throughout California,” said Ken Hough, Executive Director for the Santa Barbara County Action Network (SBCAN). “The new moratorium shows that Californians deeply care about our environment and climate, and we are determined to protect our communities and groundwater resources from dangerous and toxic operations.”
“Steam injection operations can have devastating consequences, as demonstrated right here in Santa Barbara County’s Cat Canyon Oil Field” said Tara Messing, Staff Attorney for the Environmental Defense Center. “Since 1977, the Environmental Defense Center has stood up against the fossil fuel industry to advance environmental protection. Our fight continues as the County now faces a massive increase in onshore oil and gas production using steam injection in Cat Canyon. Today’s moratorium on high-pressure steam injection is a new tool in our toolbox to phase out extreme oil extraction in our County and protect our water, air, biodiversity, and public health.”