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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 communities and 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).
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.
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