SACRAMENTO—Today, the California Geologic Energy Management Division (Cal-GEM) issued at least 24 hydraulic fracturing (fracking) permits to Aera Energy, a Kern County based oil operator. The permits are the first to be issued in more than six months, following a moratorium that was placed on the practice announced by Governor Gavin Newsom last November, which established a new third-party review by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Last November’s moratorium on fracking came after the Last Chance Alliance, a coalition of over 700 health, environmental justice, climate and labor organizations, waged a multi-year campaign calling on California’s Governor to protect the health and safety of communities living on the front lines of the state’s massive fossil fuel industry. The Alliance continues to urge Governor Newsom to address the public health impacts of California’s fossil fuel industry and lead toward a managed decline of oil production.

“Now, more than ever, we need our elected officials to stand on the side of public health and safety. We celebrated the leadership that Governor Newsom showed last November when he placed a moratorium on fracking as part of a broader effort to strengthen health and safety protections for communities near oil extraction. We continue to applaud him as he bravely acts on the recommendations of scientists and public health professionals around the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet, as Cal-GEM resumes permitting an extreme extraction technique that we know threatens our health, air and climate, we again call on the Governor to step in. It’s time for Governor Newsom to double down on his public health leadership. We call on the Governor and his administration to listen to the best available science and public health data that tells us that our best chance to protect frontline communities and avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis is to phase out fossil fuel extraction. The state can’t claim to be a leader in protecting public health until it does so.”