Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, August 31, 2022

Contact:

Hollin Kretzmann, (510) 844-7133, hkretzmann@biologicaldiversity.org
Victoria Bogdan Tejeda, (724) 317-7029, vbogdantejeda@biologicaldiversity.org

California Lawmakers OK Climate Package With Buffer Zones, Carbon Capture

SACRAMENTO, Calif.— The California legislature approved a suite of climate measures today, including historic health-and-safety setbacks that protect communities from oil and gas drilling, in its closing 2022 session.

“Passage of this monumental bill is a tribute to the tireless frontline communities who have fought for their lives against fossil fuel polluters for years,” said Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “California has more work to do on climate and environmental justice, but these protections are a huge step toward a healthier, safer, more sustainable future.”

Coming after years of hard-fought advocacy, the bill would create a 3,200-foot buffer zone between oil and gas sites and sensitive sites such as homes and schools. It was part of a climate package endorsed by the governor in recent weeks.

The legislature also passed measures to set a target for 90% clean electricity by 2035 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. While these targets are steps in the right direction, California must ensure the vast majority of climate pollution reductions occur within the next decade. They must also require polluters to cut their emissions rather than relying on accounting gimmicks like carbon trading, or unproven carbon capture technologies.

Also approved by lawmakers was a measure that expedites permits for carbon capture and storage, or CCS, projects, in exchange for some guardrails on the projects. CCS is an ineffective, unsafe and expensive technology that prolongs the polluting fossil fuel industry and puts communities at risk. California’s measure, for example, would allow under-regulated carbon dioxide pipelines to inject carbon waste at facilities near vulnerable communities.

“It’s beyond frustrating to see the legislature fast-track a technology that has repeatedly failed and poses major risks, only to prolong the fossil fuel industry,” said Victoria Bogdan Tejeda, an attorney at the Center. “Streamlining permits for CCS projects the state has never had at scale is at best misguided and at worst dangerous. If California wants to rush climate action it should forget hazardous, unproven CCS and focus on the rapid phaseout of fossil fuels.”

RSInglewood_Oil_Field_Gary_Kavanagh_FPWC_2-scr
Photo from Inglewood Oil Field by Gary Kavanagh Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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