This past Friday, Gavin Newsom, Democratic Governor of California, released a statement that the most populated stated in the nation would phase out the practice of fracking in less than three years and will explore other options that will eventually lead to the end of all oil extraction measures.
“The climate crisis is real, and we continue to see signs every day,” Newsom stated in the announcement. “As we move to swiftly decarbonize our transportation sector and create a healthier future for our children, I’ve made it clear I don’t see a role for fracking in that future and, similarly, believe that California needs to move beyond oil.”
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a process that is used to remove natural resources from the land by injecting high-pressure fluids into a rock formation. The process stresses the rock creating new fractures and enlarges all existing ones. These rocks containing oil and natural gas expand and allow the fluids to flow out more freely into a wellbore to increase production. Progressive environmentalists claim that fracking leads to negative impacts on the air and water quality, public health, and can lead to an increase in overall seismic events.
NEW: California is now the first state to declare an end to oil extraction in the country.
Today, we're announcing that we will phase out all oil extraction — as part of a world-leading effort to achieve carbon neutrality — and ban fracking by 2024.
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) April 23, 2021
Newsom has pushed the Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division to stop the issue of any new permits for fracking by 2024 and has also pressed the California Air Resources Board to analyze a path to stop all oil and gas drilling by 2045.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Newsom’s announcement comes as a recall campaign against him appears close to qualifying for the ballot and is a reversal from the governor’s previous statements that he lacked the executive authority to ban hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking.” as reported by the outlet, “Newsom recently decided to use the state’s environmental regulatory authority after efforts to pass the ban legislatively failed, an administration spokesperson said.”
“Certainly the governor’s policy folks will insist we shouldn’t view this through a political lens,” John Myers, the Sacramento bureau chief for the L.A. Times, tweeted. “And yet, there’s a tremendous political element to how it’s received. Early reaction from trade unions is not positive and they represent a notable voice in the Dem Party.”
According to the Times, several union leaders were seen speaking out again Newsom’s directive, stating that the move would lead to the loss of thousands of well-paying jobs and harm local economies in rural oil-producing regions in the state.
John Spaulding is the executive secretary of the Building and Construction Trades Council for Kern, Inyo, and Mono counties.
“Every student, every firefighter and every resident of Kern County will be hurt by the governor’s political announcement today,” he stated this past Friday, “We will work to oppose this effort for our membership, their families, our schools and our future. I have one question for Gavin Newsom: Are our jobs too dirty for you?”
In a report sent out by the state Department of Conservation, fracking is responsible for only about 2% of oil production in California.