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May 2020
Law and Policy Options to Phase out Oil and Gas Production in California

Despite its reputation as an international leader on environmental and climate policy, California is also the seventh-largest oil producing state in the U.S. This drilling activity has negative impacts for public health and environmental quality in neighboring communitieand contributes to a global fossil fuel economy at odds with state policy to reduce demand and associated emissions. In their new report  Legal Grounds , CLEE's Ethan Elkind and Ted Lamm detail a set of law and policy options for California leaders to facilitate that transition and support the state's environmental health.

Among the steps discussed, state leaders could:
  • Enhance regulatory authority over drilling by clarifying the need for the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM, the state's primary oil and gas regulator) to prioritize environmental and climate impacts over production;
  • Heighten scrutiny on permitting via comprehensive environmental review with mandatory, site-specific mitigation measures under the California Environmental Quality Act;
  • Institute minimum statewide drilling setbacks of at least 2,500 feet or more from sensitive sites, such as schools, parks, and houses;
  • Implement a per-barrel or per-well severance tax and dedicate the revenue to projects that further the goal of transitioning away from fossil fuel; and
  • Task the California Air Resources Board with devising and implementing a comprehensive plan for a phase-out of all in-state oil and gas production by a date that tracks with overall climate goals.
Read the full report here and register for the upcoming webinar discussion (see more details below).

Contact Ethan Elkind or Ted Lamm for more information.

Upcoming Events

We have switched all of our in-person events to virtual sessions for the coming months. In May, we'd love you to join us for informative discussions with experts on various environmental and energy policy topics.  

Facilitating an Oil and Gas Phase-out

Tuesday, May 12, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Please register here

Join Ethan Elkind and Ted Lamm as they discuss key findings from their new report and lead a panel discussion on phasing out oil and gas in California. Panelists include:
  • Ann Alexander, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Ingrid Brostrom, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment
  • Sean Hecht, UCLA School of Law

Wednesday, May 13, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Please register here

CLEE's Ethan Elkind, Patrick Heller, and Ted Lamm will lead a  Q&A session on improving the sustainability of the EV battery supply chain. The discussion will tie into their recent report and address several challenges in the supply chain, such as mining impacts and vehicle carbon emissions.

Recently in Legal Planet
Siyi Shen examines the growing concern  over the safety of grocery bags and the ongoing debate between environmentalists and the plastics industry.

Responses to recent closures of California beaches highlight a growing restlessness during shelter-in-place orders. Rick Frank discusses the legality of
      such closures for public health safety.

Dan Farber discusses whether congress could mandate COVID-19 vaccinations.

During this challenging time,  many people are suffering and facing increased financial, food, and housing insecurities. If you want to support Berkeley students, please consider donating to Berkeley's COVID-19 crowdfunding efforts. You can find more information about the ways campus is supporting students here.