California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed six bills to accelerate the state's move away from fossil fuels.
Among the new laws is one that reorganizes state agencies overseeing fossil fuel production, including renaming the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources to the Geologic Energy Management Division. The fossil fuel reform measures are intended to make the renamed division refocus "to better consider public health and the fight against the Trump administration's efforts to expand oil extraction in California."
Industry sources reacted negatively to the changes, illustrated by California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman, who questioned the timing, given wildfires and other issues facing California.
"If we are consuming oil, it should come from California under California’s strict environmental rules," Zierman told NGI's Shale Daily. "I’m concerned about the tone of the bill signings, which don’t address demand, but will simply replace domestic energy with foreign imports."
In contrast, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) put a more positive spin on the state's new laws.
"These regulatory changes demonstrate two constants: California will set the highest standards for oil production in the world, and our industry will innovate and lead by providing energy for our state through the safest, cleanest and most efficient ways possible,” said WSPA President Catherine Reheis-Boyd.
The laws expand the state's intention to deemphasize oil and gas development by preventing any state agency from entering a "lease or other conveyance" regarding new drilling on "federally protected lands." Another bill requires operators to provide the state with estimates on the cost of plugging and abandoning wells.
In addition, the laws require new submission of testing data on idle and abandoned wells, improve the reporting of chemical compositions of leaks for gas storage wells, and require the development of contingency planning for all types of "nonfloating oil spills.”