For Immediate Release, November 19, 2019


Kassie Siegel, (951) 961-7972,

Newsom Administration Announces Crackdown on Dangerous California Oil Extraction

SACRAMENTO, Calif.― Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today that the state would take major steps to protect Californians from oil industry pollution, as part of an overall strategy to phase out oil production in California. The actions include a moratorium on new high-pressure steam injection wells and the initiation of a process to protect the health of people living near oil and gas wells.

High-pressure steam injection raises the risk of oil spills and water pollution. It has been linked to massive oil spills in California’s Central Valley, including a seep of more than 1 million gallons of oil in Kern County.

“Gov. Newsom’s historic action protects Californians from some of the most dangerous and destructive oil-extraction techniques,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity. “This marks the turning of the tide against the oil industry, which has been allowed to drill at will in our state for more than 150 years. This is the kind of leadership necessary to make California the first major oil-producing state to phase out extraction and protect people and our planet from dirty fossil fuels. We thank Gov. Newsom for this truly momentous step.”

The governor’s plan will:

  1. Establish a moratorium on new wells that use high-pressure steam injection at pressures high enough to crack the underground rock formation while the state considers whether to permanently ban the practice;
  2. Launch a process to address severe ongoing health and safety threats from oil and gas drilling near where people live, work and play, which should result in the implementation of the state’s first health and safety buffer zone that would prohibit drilling within a certain distance of homes, schools and other key places;
  3. Implement a public audit of fracking and related permitting. While the audit is underway, all fracking permit applications will undergo third party review by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.