CA Oil Regulator Denies 21 Fracking Permits But Leaves Frontline Communities Waiting on Health & Safety Protections 


Today, CA’s oil regulator CalGEM announced it has denied 21 of Aera Energy’s applications for fracking operations in California, citing risks to public health and safety and environmental quality and climate change under regulatory statutes. In a statement, Gov. Newsom said he “applauds today’s action by the State Oil and Gas Supervisor to use his discretion under statute to deny 21 pending fracking permits, which will protect public health and safety.”

Yet, the same regulator recently missed yet another deadline to produce a draft health and safety rule, leaving communities near CA’s industrial oil operations waiting for basic health protections. 


Organizations with Last Chance Alliance issued the following in response:

Gov Newsom Denies Fracking

Gov Newsom Denies Fracking

“Blocking 21 fracking permits on health and climate grounds shows Gov. Newsom’s power to say no to the fossil fuel industry, but we need much more to confront the crisis that’s bringing us record heat and megadrought,” said Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “Newsom is still rubberstamping new drilling projects and he’s dragging his feet on a critical health-and-safety buffer to protect frontline communities. He still hasn’t delivered anything close to the type of dramatic fossil-fuel policy changes California needs to protect our people and our climate.”


“CalGEM is following the science and adhering to its regulatory purpose in denying these fracking permits, but Governor Newsom needs to follow through and instruct his agency to deny all new oil and gas permits immediately,” said Food & Water Watch’s California Director Alexandra Nagy. “Frontline communities have just been spared the public health hazards and devastating environmental impact that would have come with the 21 fracking wells under consideration. Unfortunately, CalGEM continues to permit all other oil and gas wells that further harm public health, water and climate. Governor Newsom must instruct CalGEM to come into alignment with their mission statement to protect life and health and deny all new permits now. Incremental steps are not enough to protect Californian communities and our climate, or save our scarce water resources from drilling operations that usurp them.”


“We applaud the Newsom Administration for finally using its discretion to deny Area destructive and dangerous fracking permits,” said consumer advocate Liza Tucker with Consumer Watchdog. “This step is in concert with Governor Newsom’s goal of banning all fracking by 2024, though we believe that a ban across the board should be immediate. Denying fracking permits is one step in phasing out oil and gas drilling in California. But this is only one step in a managed transition away from oil and gas. We are waiting for CalGEM to issue a long overdue rule setting a boundary of at least 2,500 feet between vulnerable communities and oil drilling operations. Governor Newsom must deliver on the requests he made of CalGEM to issue such a rule to protect the public health and the environment and hold his Oil & Gas Supervisor accountable for repeatedly blowing deadlines. In the meantime, he should put a moratorium on any new drilling permits until the setback is established.”