Advocates from Across the State Offer Public Support for Oil Regulator’s Proposed Rule

SACRAMENTO, CA — After years of advocacy from climate groups and communities most impacted by oil drilling pollution, California is poised to become the largest oil producing state in the nation to enact a total ban on new fracking projects. On Tuesday the Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) held a public hearing to solicit feedback on the agency’s draft rule to phase out the dangerous extraction technique. The rule is expected to be finalized this year. 

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, blasts large amounts of water mixed with hazardous chemicals into the earth to fracture underground rock and release oil and gas. The pollution from fracking contributes to a litany of health issues caused by oil and gas drilling, including nausea, rashes, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications, and more. 

Additionally, fracking threatens to further destabilize our already imperiled climate. The practice uses extreme techniques to exploit additional oil and gas deposits when climate scientists find that much of the world’s oil and gas reserves must stay in the ground to hit international climate targets. Climate and environmental justice advocates from across the state have waged a decade-long campaign to end the dangerous practice and submitted over five thousand public comments in addition to a joint letter signed by over 100 organizations in support of the state oil regulator’s draft rule.

In 2021, Gov. Newsom directed CalGEM to ban new fracking projects by 2024, as part of the agency’s stated mission to prioritize protecting public health, safety and the environment in its oversight of the oil and gas industries. Shortly thereafter, CalGEM began denying fracking permits on the basis of their threats to public health and the climate, and no new fracking permits have been approved since 2021. Now, state regulators are following through on Newsom’s directive to formally and permanently ban fracking in California. 

Environmental justice leaders, climate advocates, and public health professionals with the Last Chance Alliance lauded the state’s important step toward a full fracking ban. Advocates emphasized the need to address the remaining public health and climate threats from other dangerous forms of fossil fuel extraction and pressed leaders to continue a rapid phase out of existing operations.

“This rule marks the end of fracking’s ugly chapter in California,” said Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “Californians are finally getting the protection from fracking’s health, water, and climate harms that we’ve long deserved. Now the state needs to keep the momentum going by stepping up its oversight to limit the additional harm this dangerous industry does on its way out the door.”

“Friends of the Earth applauds California’s historic rulemaking to protect communities by banning fracking, and we hope other governments across the nation and the globe will follow the state’s lead,” said Nicole Ghio, senior fossil fuels program manager at Friends of the Earth. “We are eager to see the rule finalized by the end of the year as California strives to meet its climate commitments.”

“The biggest takeaway from this important rulemaking announcement is timing. Governor Newsom first called for the completion of this rulemaking in 2021. Here we are, three years later, with the rule still being finalized. My question is – does California really have that kind of time? Phasing out fracking is a necessary step in our transition away from a fossil fuel economy, yet the proposed regulation doesn’t apply to equally toxic forms of enhanced oil recovery like high pressure cyclic steam injection. California’s families on the frontlines of extraction and the climate crisis are eager for a speedy resolution to this rulemaking process and to see the Governor and CalGEM do more,” said Kobi Naseck, Coalition Director, Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods

“Californians know that fracking is a bad practice that puts all of us in danger, and corrupts our environment. And fracking does not affect all Californians equally: much of this infrastructure is located in areas full of folks already experiencing the worst of the climate crisis, said Chirag Bhakta, California Director for Food & Water Watch. “By supporting a full ban on fracking and starting more aggressively moving toward our future free from fossil fuels, we can ensure that all of our neighbors have access to clean air, fresh water and a livable future.” 

“The fracking boom accelerated the climate crisis. While polluting the air, land, and water with harmful toxins the process affects frontline communities, already experiencing the worst of the climate crisis, the most. At Elected Officials to Protect America – California we’re proud to have fought for a fracking ban since 2017. California is the fifth largest economy, and is showing the way by banning fracking as we continue to phase out fossil fuels on our way to energy independence, prosperity and equality for all. Now let’s stop issuing any new fossil fuel permits,” said Meghan Sahli-Wells, Former. Culver City Mayor, EOPA – California Director.

“Fracking must end in California – it’s that simple. This dangerous practice has plagued our communities for too long, polluting our air and water, threatening public health and fueling the climate crisis,” said Mercedes Macias, Senior Field Organizer with the Sierra Club. “But it’s not just fracking – enhanced oil recovery techniques like high-pressure cyclic steam injection pose similar risks. CalGEM’s own advisory panel found a direct link between general “oil and gas development”—not just fracking—and adverse health impacts. We must phase out oil and gas extraction altogether if we want to chart a course toward a truly safe, healthy future for all Californians.”

“We are heartened to see the administration following through on the Governor’s directive. We know that all the “easy” oil has already been extracted, and what remains uses extreme forms of drilling. We hope that this regulation development process will listen to the concerns of Californians living with the burdens of drilling, and go further to ban all extreme extraction.” Said Ilonka Zlatar, Organizer with Oil and Gas Action Network. “The global scientific consensus says that global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2025–that’s next year folks–if we are to keep 1.5 degrees of warming as an option. What that means in practice is that we must stop permitting and building new fossil fuel infrastructure today.”


We acknowledge that Sacramento is the traditional home of the Maidu, Miwok and Nisenan people and Hollywood is the ancestral homeland of the Tongva. Part of our commitment to decolonizing ourselves, our language, and our organizations is a commitment to learning and better understanding the history of Indigenous Peoples of so-called California, including the history of contact, colonization and the extraction of resources from Indigenous lands which has been part of the continuation of modern colonization.