California Launches Rulemaking To Ban Fracking In 2024 by Charles Kennedy, May 24, 2021, Oil Price
California initiated on Friday the pre-rulemaking stage of proposed legislation that would end fracking in the state in 2024.
The Department of Conservation, Geologic Energy Management Division released pre-rulemaking draft regulations for the purpose of receiving public input on the development of a rule that ends permitting for well stimulation treatments in 2024. The comment period ends on July 4, 2021, and the division will review the comments and consider them in developing proposed regulations for formal rulemaking.
The department’s launch of the pre-rulemaking process is a follow-up to last month’s move from California Governor Gavin Newsom, who directed CalGEM to initiate regulatory action to end the issuance of new fracking permits by January 2024.
“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,” Governor Newsom said last month.
The latest action from the Governor, who has said in the past that he himself lacks the authority to ban fracking via executive order, is yet another sign of California’s goal to lead U.S. efforts in decarbonization and clean energy adoption.
The planned fracking ban itself is not expected to significantly impact oil production in the seventh-largest oil-producing state in the United States, because hydraulic fracturing accounts for just 2 percent of total oil production in California.
The possible ending of all oil production by 2045, however, would be a big deal and not just a symbolic move from the U.S. state looking to lead environmental justice in America.
While environmental advocates cheered Governor Newsom’s action, oil industry associations and trade organizations expressed concern that the end of fracking and phase-out of all oil extraction would result in job losses and increased dependence on foreign oil imports, including those from Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
California releases broad draft rule to ban fracking by 2024 by Dan Bacher, May 24, 2021, redgreenandblue.org
On Friday, CalGEM, the oil and gas regulatory agency for California, released the first draft of its rulemaking regulations intended to ban fracking by January 1, 2024. The draft includes broad language that allows for the phase out of all “well stimulation” techniques including fracking, acidizing, gravel packing, steam flooding and steam injection, according to Food and Watch California.
The release of the draft rule follows years of organizing, meetings, protests, rallies, marches and direct action by thousands of climate justice, indigenous, conservation, environmental, public interest and community activists from hundreds of organizations who want to see fracking banned in the state.
However, longtime opponents of fracking say the move is “2-½ years too late” and criticize the rule for “lacking immediate enforcement.” I expect frac’ers would sue California into bankruptcy if the ban came too quickly.
The well stimulation treatment permitting phase-out discussion draft rule is now available for public comment.
“The Department of Conservation, Geologic Energy Management Division, has publicly released pre-rulemaking draft regulations for the purpose of receiving public input on the development of a rule that ends permitting for well stimulation treatments in 2024,” CalGEM announced. “Comments received during the current comment period will be reviewed and considered in developing proposed regulations for formal rulemaking.”
Food & Water Watch California Director Alexandra Nagy responded to the announcement in a statement, noting that the Governor can ban fracking right now:
“CalGEM’s rulemaking draft regulations show an encouraging acknowledgement of the dangers of well stimulation practices like fracking, acidizing, gravel packing and steam injection, but we should not have to wait until 2024 to see the results of the governor’s change of heart. Governor Newsom has the authority and ability to ban fracking right now. Waiting two and a half years only exposes California’s frontline communities to imminent environmental and health hazards while giving the oil and gas industry time to stockpile permits and cultivate influence over policy makers. This draft shows worthwhile goals, but Governor Newsom needs to act now. The Californians on the frontlines of fracking can’t afford any more delay.”
Below are the notice and discussion draft rule: