California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his proposed 2022-2023 budget proposal to continue confronting the state’s “greatest existential threats” – the pandemic and climate change – while bolstering economic growth.

California natural gas consumption

Specifically for energy, Newsom’s ambition under his California Blueprint is to create “an oil-free future” for California by reducing the state’s reliance on fossil fuels while preparing the economy for a “clean” energy future.

“California will write the playbook for how America confronts the impacts of climate change – investing billions in climate tech research and development, clean cars, preparing Californians for career opportunities, and further readying our infrastructure to withstand extreme weather,” the Blueprint noted. 

Newsom in September 2020 signed an executive order calling for a ban by 2024 on all new hydraulic fracturing permits and require, by 2035, that all new in-state cars and passenger truck sales be zero-emission vehicles. 

In September the governor signed into law Senate Bill 423 to accelerate the deployment of “firm zero-carbon resources” for electricity production. Two months later, the California Energy Commission approved $1.4 billion in funding to build out electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure.

‘Historic Progress’

“With major new investments to tackle the greatest threats to our state’s future, the California Blueprint lights the path forward to continue the historic progress we’ve made on our short-term and long-term challenges, including responding to the evolving pandemic, fighting the climate crisis, taking on persistent inequality and homelessness, keeping our streets safe and more,” said Newsom. 

“As California’s robust recovery continues, we’re doubling down on our work to ensure all our communities can thrive.”

With California now facing near-constant wildfire threats, the proposal would provide nearly $3 billion total to support firefighting and forest management. In addition, $750 million would be directed to respond to the historic drought conditions.

“The Blueprint offers a vision for how California can continue to tackle short-term crises and long-term challenges,” Newsom said. 

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He noted that last year as California dealt with the pandemic’s upheaval, the state “passed the largest recovery package in the nation, the California Comeback Plan.” The plan provided short-term relief to Californians and made billions in longer-term investments to benefit workers, businesses and families.

“That vision persists this year because our challenges persist,” Newsom said. 

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Newsom was “right to prioritize the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change in his 2022 budget. “There is an urgent need to increase vaccinations, testing and ensure we have sufficient medical personnel to meet this unprecedented wave caused by the omicron variant,” she said.

“On climate change, not only is this the No. 1 environmental threat for the planet, but Californians are already dealing with the impacts from wildfires, drought and extreme heat. California has led the fight against climate change for years, and this budget continues that leadership.”