California to ban oil wells within 3,200 feet of public places

California to ban oil wells within 3,200 feet of public places

Highlights:

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom suggested a 3,200-foot buffer zone across the state to protect houses, schools, hospitals, and other populous places from oil and gas wells on Thursday.
  • The state’s oil regulator produced a draught rule that would not prohibit existing wells in specific locations but would impose new pollution restrictions.
  • According to a FracTracker Alliance investigation, more than 2 million people in the state live within 2,500 feet of an active oil and gas well.

New Proposal by California

California Governor Gavin Newsom suggested a 3,200-foot buffer zone across the state to protect houses, schools, hospitals, and other populous places from oil and gas wells on Thursday.

The state’s oil regulator, the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM), produced a draught rule that would not prohibit existing wells in specific locations but would require new pollution controls.

California is the country’s seventh-largest oil-producing state, but there is no guideline or standard governing the distance between operational wells and cities. According to a FracTracker Alliance investigation, more than 2 million California citizens live within 2,500 feet of an active oil and gas well, and another 5 million, or 14% of the state’s population, live within 1 mile.

According to a study, those who live near oil and gas drilling sites have a higher risk of premature births, asthma, respiratory disease, and cancer. Residents of major oil fields such as Los Angeles County and Kern County are disproportionately affected by oil drilling.

New Restrictions:

The proposed limitations could take a few years to implement, and the state’s oil and gas industry is expected to oppose them. The Western States Petroleum Association and the State Building and Construction Trades Council have opposed a statewide mandate for setbacks, claiming that they will boost fuel costs and endanger workers.

In a statement, Newsom said, “Our reliance on fossil fuels has led to more kids acquiring asthma, more children born with birth abnormalities, and more communities exposed to harmful, hazardous pollutants. “California is taking a huge step to protect the over two million persons who live within a half-mile of oil drilling sites, many of whom are low-income and members of minority communities.”

In a statement, Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, stated, “The largest statewide buffer zone in the US is a huge success for frontline communities who have battled for health safeguards for years.”

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