The step is part of the state’s goal to reach carbon neutrality in 2045. Newsom called on state regulators to phase out all oil production in the state by that year.
The announcement came a week after state lawmakers voted against a bill that would have banned fracking and other fossil fuel extraction techniques. Newsom had asked lawmakers for the proposal last fall after he said he didn’t have the executive authority to ban the practice on his own.
Newsom, facing a nearly-certain recall campaign, is taking a gamble to please environmentalists who have pressured him to ban the practice for years and antagonize wealthy drillers, who could spend against him in the race.
California is one of the largest oil-producing states in the nation – it ranks seventh for crude oil production and 14th for natural gas production, according to Politico.
In working towards carbon neutrality, the Democratic governor has also called to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
Newsom has previously downplayed the role of fracking in the state, saying it accounts for only 2% of California production. Industry sources have said that the number is likely higher.
Fracking, the practice of blasting a high-pressure water mixture deep into the earth to extract oil and gas, has come under scrutiny in recent years amid concerns of the potential public health and environmental risks it poses.
The California Republican Party immediately hit Newsom for the move. “Californians won’t soon forget that instead of getting children back in school, managing the homelessness crisis, focusing on the drought, or fixing his broken unemployment department, Newsom prioritized an anti-energy agenda that will kill jobs and hurt Californians even more than he already has. Just another day for the worst governor in California history,” the party wrote in a statement.
Newsom’s announcement came one day after President Biden announced his new goal to reduce U.S. emissions 50% from 2005 levels by 2030.
Frank Macchiarola of the American Petroleum Institute said that the U.S. would have a difficult time keeping energy costs down without fossil fuels.
“The primary driver of energy costs has been availability and reliability of an abundant supply of energy resources,” Macchiarola told Fox News. “Over the past decade, we’ve seen household costs for healthcare, education and food all increase by double digits. During that same period, we’ve seen energy costs decline by nearly 15%. That is because of the abundant supply of oil and natural gas we have right here at home.”