California pledges to phase out oil extraction by 2045

Illustration from article titled California Pledges to Phase Out Oil Extraction by 2045

Photo: David McNew (Getty Images)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom posted a directive Friday which sets an ambitious deadline of 2045 to stop all oil extraction within the state. He also orders the state Department of Conservation to stop issuing new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.

“California is now the first state to declare the end of oil extraction in the country”, Newsom tweeted Friday. “Today we are announcing that we will phase out all oil extraction – as part of a leading effort to achieve carbon neutrality – and ban hydraulic fracturing by 2024.”

In the directive, Newsom orders the Geological Energy Management Division of the Department of Conservation to stop issuing new permits for hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydraulic fracturing, by January 2024. Countless studies highlighted the serious health and environmental threats associated with this controversial method of oil and gas extraction, in which chemicals, water and sand are thrown into rock formations to crack and release them the oil and gas trapped inside.

Newsom has previously expressed support for phasing out fracking, even on the show a moratorium on new permits in November 2019, but since that ban was lifted in April 2020, the governor has signed dozens of new permits, angry conservationists.

However, fracking only represents about 17% of California’s total oil and gas production. Ending state oil extraction will be a bit more complicated. For now, Newsom has asked the California Air Resources Board to “analyze the ways” to end the statewide practice no later than 2045.

California is one of the largest oil-producing states in the United States, producing nearly 145,000 barrels of crude oil in 2020 alone, according to Statista. But production has declined steadily over the past decades as the state has adopted some of the most aggressive climate change policies in the country. This last announcement follows Newsom’s call in September to end sales of new gasoline vehicles in the state by 2035, and aligns with California commitment be carbon neutral by 2045.

“As we strive to rapidly decarbonize our transport sector and create a healthier future for our children, I have made it clear that I do not see a role for hydraulic fracturing in that future and, likewise, I believe that California must go beyond oil, ”Newsom said in a declaration released by his office on Friday.

Of course, it should be noted that this ambitious announcement, which marks a reversal of the governor’s earlier claims that he did not have the authority outright ban hydraulic fracturing, comes as an effort to force a recall election against him takes steam. So there is no doubt that Newsom is trying to create good PR, although the engagement itself is a welcome step in the right direction.

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