By Andrew Sheeler, CAPITOL ALERT - SACRAMENTO BEE
July 27, 2021
Advocacy group Consumer Watchdog reports that permit approvals for new or reworked oil wells dropped by 64% in the first six months of 2021, while the number of permit applications from oil and gas companies fell by 52%.
Those drops mark the perfect occasion for Gov. Newsom to move away from fossil fuel drilling in the Golden State.
“The market is the single most important factor suppressing permit applications, but Governor Newsom is also sending the oil industry the right signals by rejecting fracking permit applications and announcing an end to fracking by 2024,” Consumer Watchdog’s Liza Tucker said in a statement. “Gov. Newsom now has a golden opportunity to seize the moment and come forward with a decisive transition plan off of fossil fuels that includes switching oil workers away from production toward desperately needed well remediation.”
According to the website NewsomWellWatch.com, Newsom’s administration has approved 9,014 oil and gas permits since he took office in January 2019, while 1,019 of those permits approved in January through June of this year.
“Overall, rates of both permit approvals and counts of permit applications to drill new wells have dropped in 2021,” said Kyle Ferrar, western program coordinator at FracTracker Alliance, in a statement. “While the market traditionally drives permit application counts, Governor Newsom now has the opportunity to reduce the expansion of oil extraction. Starting with a responsible setback for Frontline Communities of at least 2,500 feet from drilling operations, Newsom can limit new drilling and begin California’s transition away from the stranglehold of big oil.”