Efforts to buffer California residents from oil and natural gas wells hit a logjam earlier this month in the legislature, leaving the issue to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who last year promised to fix what some view as a problem.
Assembly Bill 345 failed passage in the state Senate to establish minimum distances between wells and homes, playgrounds and schools. Originally proposed last year, the bill was criticized by among others the state’s largest producer, California Resources Corp., which earlier this summer sought voluntary bankruptcy protection.
Groups have pressured Newsom to declare a moratorium on new drilling and impose other restrictions to move more quickly to phase out fossil fuels.
The California Geologic Energy Management Division has an ongoing regulatory process to set rules for health and safety surrounding oil and gas extraction sites. Spokesperson Don Drysdale said another round of public meetings is planned, with draft regulatory language expected in late fall.
Aside from the public health-related regulations, environmental groups also have complained about hydraulic fracturing. Drysdale said 48 permits have been approved for well stimulation, but only five jobs have been completed.
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