By Andrew Sheeler, SACRAMENTO BEE - CAPITOL ALERT
April 26, 2021
California Gov. Gavin Newsom made big waves on Friday when he announced plans for the state to phase out fracking by 2024, and oil drilling by 2045.
Be sure to check out Sophia Bollag and Hannah Wiley’s reporting on the announcement.
The move earned Newsom qualified plaudits from some groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity and Consumer Watchdog.
“It’s historic and globally significant that Gov. Newsom has committed California to phase out fossil fuel production and ban fracking, but we don’t have time for studies and delays. Californians living next to these dirty and dangerous drilling operations need protection from oil industry pollution today,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, in a statement.
“We applaud Newsom’s executive action to ban fracking, but he shouldn’t kick the can down the road another three years. The ban should be immediate,” said Consumer Watchdog’s Liza Tucker in a statement.
Others were less impressed by the Friday decision.
The California Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Allan Zaremberg said in a statement that fossil fuels will continue to play a crucial role in our economy for the foreseeable future.”
“Oil production in California reduces our reliance on foreign fuel imports and provides good paying middle-class jobs in the Central Valley. Oil production in California is highly regulated and more environmentally friendly than having to import the energy that will be required if we do away with in-state production. Thus, the Central Valley will unnecessarily suffer a loss of good paying middle-class jobs for no additional environmental benefit,” Zaremberg said.
Bakersfield’s political delegation was particularly incensed by the decision.
Assemblyman Rudy Salas, a Democrat, called Newsom’s decision “an abuse of power.”
“While I share the vision for a cleaner future, the governor’s actions today have put the lives, economy and well-being of thousands of California families in jeopardy,” Salas said in a statement.
Sen. Shannon Grove, a Republican, said in a statement that the decision “will have a devastating effect on the state’s economy and jobs, and our energy independence.”
“California’s oil and gas consumption has only been reduced by a miniscule amount in over 30 years. For the governor to destroy these good paying jobs and import oil from countries with abysmal human rights and environmental records is completely irresponsible,” Grove said.