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California Governor Seeks to Ban New Fracking and Halt Oil Production

On Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a decision to outlaw hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by 2024 and to consider phasing out oil extraction nationwide by 2045. On the heels of Earth Day, the announcement came as a recall petition for Mr. Newsom was set to apply for the ballot. The Governor has previously stated that he lacks the executive authority to put an end to fracking, which has long been a source of pollution as well as higher-paying blue-collar employment in California.

Mr. Newsom ran on a platform of banning fracking, and in September he asked Democrats in the Legislature to give him a bill to that effect. Later, however, some Democrats chastised him for not doing enough to support it. Industry lobbyists and moderate Democrats hoping to protect paychecks in the oil-rich San Joaquin Valley blocked a sweeping bill implementing the ban and other fossil-fuel regulations last week.

On Friday, in a statement, the Governor said, “The climate crisis is real, and we continue to see the signs every day. As we move to swiftly decarbonize our transportation sector and create a healthier future for our children, I’ve made it clear I don’t see a role for fracking in that future and, similarly, believe that California needs to move beyond oil.”

Mr. Newsom’s ban and its gradual implementation are seen as a way to satisfy the progressive voters he’ll need if the recall campaign results in a special election, as predicted, while also keeping the deep-pocketed oil industry from backing the recall. The proposed changes, which would prohibit new fracking licenses beginning in 2024.

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