While California is known for its progressive reputation on environmental issues, oil continues to be produced in the state using destructive methods such as fracking and acid well stimulation.
To put an end to these environmentally-damaging practices, California state senators have introduced a new bill that seeks to ban fracking and other controversial oil and gas extraction techniques by 2027. In addition, the bill would outlaw the government from issuing new fracking permits or renewing old ones as of Jan. 1, 2022.
“Fracking & other destructive oil extraction methods are deeply harmful to our environment & public health,” Sen. Scott Wiener, who introduced the bill with fellow Democratic Senator Monique Limón. “They contaminate water, increase particulate in the air, & make people sick. And oil is at the heart of climate change. California must lead on climate & public health.”
The senators also plan to amend the bill, SB467, to include restrictions on any new oil or gas production near schools, hospitals, and places of long-term accommodation such as prisons. Whether the bill will pass or not will have to be seen. The oil and gas industry has a powerful lobby, even in California, and the industry is already arguing that banning such extraction methods will eliminate thousands of “highly-skilled, union careers that cannot be replaced by low-skilled and temporary jobs in the renewable industry.”
SB467 does account for job loss, however, includes a provision that would require the California Geologic Energy Management division to identify oil workers who have lost their jobs and help them find new work.
It’s important to recognize that even if this bill doesn’t get approved, its introduction to the state senate can serve as an important conversation starter about the future of oil and gas production in the state.
“If there’s not a bill, there’s not a conversation,” Limón said. “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.”