Governor Newsom Supports Stricter Rules on California Oil Wells

Written by Vincent Price

Governor Gavin Newson on Thursday approved of increased restrictions on oil wells in the state of California. The state has taken its first steps toward preventing the development of new oil wells near homes, hospitals, and schools.

The Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division released a proposal today; however, it is still a draft and may be subject to change when making its way through the regulatory process.

The draft proposes a 3,200 foot set back around new oil and gas development, which would separate new wells from homes, schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Almost two million Californians live within 3,200 feet of an oil or gas facility, according to California’s Environmental Protection Secretary.

While in Wilmington, Newsom said, “This is about morality. The issue that really unites us here today is around the issue of justice, environmental justice, economic justice — they go hand in hand.” Newsom also stated that “It’s about public health. It’s about safety. It’s about dignity. It’s about the ability to live your life out loud.” 

The president and CEO of the Western States Petroleum Association, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, called this “an activist assault on California’s way of life, economy, and people” and said that this decision could “lead to increased costs and reduce the reliability of our energy supply. His decision was not based on what is best for Californians or science.”

However, environmental advocates have said that it’s a step in the right direction that still doesn’t go far enough.

Newsom, who ordered a winding down of new oil fracking in April, was criticized by environmental advocates for not doing enough to combat fossil fuel pollution. California is the seventh largest producer of crude oil in the country, and many companies are drilling in older wells rather than new ones.  

Photo Cred: Andrei Stanescu