Governor Signs Muratsuchi’s Bill to Help California Fight Fracking, Drilling

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SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 12 signed Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi’s (D-Torrance) Assembly Bill 342, one of several bills to move California away from fossil fuels.

This bill will help California fight the Trump Administration’s plan to frack and drill for oil in national and state parks and other federal protected lands by prohibiting new pipelines and other infrastructure on state lands that would support new oil and gas production.

The administration is pursuing an aggressive energy policy to open more and more federal land to oil and gas exploration and production with little regard for the environmental impacts. The Bureau of Land Management recently approved an oil and gas exploration plan that would open up hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land to oil and gas leasing in Central California, ending a five-year moratorium.

“We need to fight the Trump Administration’s plan to frack and drill for oil in some of our most beautiful national and state parks,” said Muratsuchi. “They have already approved new drilling and pipelines in the wildflower-rich Carrizo Plain National Monument near San Luis Obispo. Other protected lands like the Giant Sequoia National Monument near the Sierra Nevada mountain range are at risk.

“By prohibiting the issuance of new oil infrastructure leases on state lands, AB 342 is sending a clear message to Trump that we will fight to protect these beautiful lands for current and future generations.”

While federal land use determinations are outside of state jurisdiction, California does have jurisdiction over the use of state lands, including leasing authority in those areas. If an oil or gas lease is authorized on federal land, production from that lease often requires supporting infrastructure on state land in order to start and sustain production, as well as to facilitate transport of oil and gas.

Governor’s Statement

“California is a leader in the fight to transition away from fossil fuels. These bills put intentions into action,” said Newsom, who also announced his appointees to the state’s geologic resources agency. “These reforms and new leadership will enhance safety of existing oil wells, refocus the state’s geologic energy division to better consider public health and fight against the Trump Administration’s efforts to expand oil extraction in California.” 

Newsom appointed David Shabazian as the new director of the Department of Conservation, and Uduak-Joe Ntuk as the new division supervisor, which operates under the Department of Conservation umbrella. 

In addition to Muratsuchi’s bill, Newsom signed the following:

SB 551 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) requires that oil and gas well operators provide estimates of the cost to plug and abandon wells and decommission attendant oil and gas production facilities.

AB 1057 by Assemblymember Monique Limόn (D-Santa Barbara) renames DOGGR (Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources) the Geologic Energy Management Division. It also specifies that its mission include protecting public health and safety and environmental quality, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

AB 1328 by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) requires the submission of testing data conducted on idle and abandoned wells for publication on the DOGGR’s website. 

SB 463 by Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) improves the reporting of the chemical composition of leaks from natural gas storage wells, and requires the DOGGR to review and revise its natural gas storage well regulations and policy. 

AB 936 by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) fills a critical gap in existing law by establishing contingency planning for all types of non-floating oil spills, and providing the Office of Spill Prevention and Response with information, financial resources, and technical and administrative tools to prepare for a non-floating oil spill and respond to one if it occurs. 

 

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