Stern Applauds Governor’s Leadership on Fracking Moratorium, Prepares For January Oversight Hearing on State’s Oil & Gas Policy

November 21, 2019

CALABASAS – State Senator Henry Stern (D-Calabasas) applauded Governor Gavin Newsom’s move establishing a statewide moratorium the issuance of steam-injected oil drilling and fracking permits, stating:

“This week’s actions by the Governor and his newly overhauled CalGEM at the Resources Agency will help rebuild trust with communities living on the front lines of oil and gas extraction, while demonstrating to the thousands of Californians employed in petroleum that we are not playing politics with energy policy— this work is too serious. We are a global leader in clean energy but we are also the third largest consumer of petroleum in the world.  If we are going to rationalize these two realities, it is precisely this kind of cautious, evidence-based decision-making we need.”

Stern, who chairs the Senate Natural Resources & Wildlife Committee, is planning a joint hearing with the Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, in January to get a complete overview of the Newsom Administration’s oil and gas policy for California.

The hearing will also examine the May 10, 2019, incident in Kern County where oil and water began seeping from a Chevron well site at the Cymric oil field.  The seep ultimately reached about 1.3 million gallons, which resulted in several notices of violation issued by state regulators.

In light of the massive seep and questions of safety and environmental protection that surround the technique used at the well, Senator Stern and Assemblymember Friedman called for an oversight hearing to investigate the spill and review relevant regulations.

Alongside its moratoriums on fracking and cyclic steam-injected oil well permits, the Department of Conservation also announced that it will update and strengthen California’s protections for public health and safety near oil and gas extraction facilities.