After decades of fighting to safeguard a healthy environment for all, the Environmental Defense Center applauded actions announced by Governor Newsom to catalyze efforts to protect public health and the environment from risky oil extraction. The news came after a series of controversies this past summer with the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) as well as the spill of nearly one million gallons of oil and water in Kern County’s Cymric Oil Field. In response, the state has taken the first step by establishing a moratorium limited to high-pressure extraction, strengthening protections near oil facilities, and initiating a review of hydraulic fracturing.
While the community celebrated these actions as a promising commitment by the state to phase out oil, the new moratorium is markedly different from Ventura County’s ban on all cyclic steam injection for new and re-drilled wells. Notably, the governor’s moratorium only applies to new extraction wells that utilize high pressure steam injection, which DOGGR claims restricts the moratorium to only the Cymric, McKittrick, Midway-Sunset, and Orcutt oil fields.
EDC and our clients Sierra Club and SBCAN therefore must continue the fight against three proposals to drill and operate 760 new wells utilizing steam injection in the Cat Canyon Oil Field, tripling the county’s onshore oil production. These projects will result in spills, generate massive greenhouse gases, and cause irreparable damage to sensitive habitat and native vegetation, endangered wildlife, water quality, and public health. Speak up to tell the county to deny these dangerous proposals!
Tara Messing is a staff attorney with the Environmental Defense Center.