Newsom called for a ban on hydraulic fracturing.He may get more than negotiated with an ambitious plan

McKittrick residents, who have been hit by the state's largest oil spill in decades, maintain deep-seated skepticism about environmentalists. warning.

California’s $ 1 billion oil industry has remained largely on the sidelines so far during the campaign to bring back Governor Gavin Newsom. Above, an oil well in McKittrick, California. (Irrfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Governor Gavin Newsom sent a law to the Democratic Party last year when he expressed support for a ban on hydraulic fracturing by oil and gas companies and for efforts that the industry and trade unions had fought for similarly long. Gave a green light. I saw the fit.

However, the crackdown on oil and gas production under consideration by the California State Legislature is demanded by the governor, who may get more than he negotiated, bearing the pressure to carry out the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response. It is a much wider range than the planned plan. While fighting the upcoming recall elections.

Ambitious proposals would ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and a series of other oil extraction methods abused by environmental activists. Wells are also prohibited from operating within 2,500 feet of housing, schools, medical facilities and other densely populated areas. Newsom’s suggestion It was limited to a ban on hydraulic fracturing and buffer zone studies only.

Proponents of the bill said from the beginning: Newsom needs to play an active role Promoted legislation and expressed concern that the governor’s attention would focus on his own political survival Except for certain things, the fall call election.

Looking to the future, Newsom may be reluctant to surpass California’s trade unions, democratic political influential forces, and oil-rich San Joaquin Valley voters.

“The problem with recalls is that it’s very distracting,” said Catherine Phillips, director of the Sierra Club California, which supports the law. “I’m worried that it will be difficult to complete everything this year, not just the hydraulic fracturing bill, as this is essentially one way to shut down.”

They are at odds over oil drilling in California, but environmental activists and many trade unions are opposed to the recall campaign. This further shows that workers will continue to be a strong political ally of the Democratic Governor.

Lobbyist Scott Wetch described two of his representative organizations, the state legislature. Electric workers and members of the California Pipe Trade Council “absolutely supported” Newsom, despite opposed his call to ban hydraulic fracturing.

“They believe he has done a very courageous job throughout the pandemic, and there is no single policy decision to change their minds,” Wetch said. “This is an attempt by the Republicans to win positions that they couldn’t otherwise win, and our organization is fundamentally opposed to it.”

Modesto-based fuel supplier Boyet Oil has donated $ 49,000 to one of the organizations trying to expel Newsom, while California’s $ 1 billion oil industry has so far campaigned to recall. I was almost on the sidelines during that time.

Aside from recalls, supporters of hydraulic fracturing bans and forced buffer zones face challenges given the ideological division within the majority of Parliamentary Democrats. Liberal Party lawmakers in coastal areas and major cities believe that restrictions are essential to combat climate change and protect black and Latino families living near oil fields. Business-friendly and inland lawmakers have expressed concern about the potential loss of tens of thousands of jobs and the consequent economic consequences.

Proposed hydraulic fracturing moratorium A deadlock in Congress in 2014 And just last year, a bill requiring less stringent buffer zone requirements around oil and gas wells. Failed in the Senate After passing the parliament. Given these results, it seems unlikely that this year’s law will survive unharmed.

This year’s law Introduced by Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco and Senator Monique Limón of Santa Barbara, California authorities have been implementing hydraulic crushing, acid well stimulation, periodic steam treatment, water and steam since January 1, 2022. Prohibiting the issuance or renewal of flooding permits. And by 2027, the extraction method will be banned altogether.

The bill also bans the operation of oil and gas wells within 2,500 feet of homes, schools, or medical facilities since January 1, 2022.

“I want to be clear about both aspects of the bill, hydraulic fracturing, and setbacks,” Wiener said in February when he submitted the bill. “It’s a tough politics around it.” “As time goes on, politics on this and public opinion on these issues. [have] It moved only in our direction. “

Regardless of the outcome of the state legislature, the buffer zone may still be mandated by administrative measures. At the direction of Executive Order by Newsom, state conservation officials are directly and throughout the year, including imposing potential buffer zones on public health and security proposals to communities near oil and gas businesses. We hold public hearings online. well.

Authorities will announce these new restrictions as early as this month.

A study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, published by the National Institutes of Health, found that living near oil and gas wells had serious health consequences for pregnant mothers and newborns. A 2014 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council determined that more than 5.4 million Californians live within a mile of at least one oil or gas well.

The first test of the bill will take place on April 13, which will be considered by the Senate’s Natural Resources and Water Commission.

California Independent Petroleum Assn. Rock Zierman, CEO of California, said California has some of the strongest regulations and environmental protections in the world. He said that if a state decides to stop oil production, it will be forced to import oil from states and countries with low health, environmental and safety standards.

“California’s oil and gas operators are in compliance with the strictest regulations on the planet, and efforts to stop domestic production are from Saudi Arabia and South America to the state’s environmentally inferior foreign oil tanked here. It only exacerbates addiction, “Zierman said in a statement. Oil is not produced here in California with the same environmental protection and humanitarian value we have. We also don’t pay California taxes or hundreds of millions of dollars in reinvestment to advance California’s climate goals. “

Robbie Hunter, chairman of the California Building and Construction Trade Council, said the proposed bill would wipe out the work of a high-paying union of about 100,000 people at a state refinery. He said oil and gas demand still exists, but both will be more expensive as the state is forced to import them.

“In an enthusiastic effort to satisfy ourselves on the political agenda of the radical coastal elite, Senators Wiener and Limon go to work and school with the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of blue-collar families. We are at risk of doubling the cost of doing so to the environment, “said the hunter.

According to the State Department, hydraulic fracturing and all other adequate stimulus methods account for about 2% of the state’s oil production.

Jacob Roper, assistant director of the agency, said the pace at which sufficient stimulus permits were issued has slowed significantly.

The Biodiversity Center sued the state in February, accusing regulators of approving thousands of oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing projects without the necessary environmental reviews under state law.

This story was originally Los Angeles Times..

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