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State takes next steps on 'no-brainer' plan to ban fracking: 'Hopefully this rule is an indication that they're getting serious'

"Moving in the right direction."

"Moving in the right direction."

Photo Credit: iStock

California's Geologic Energy Management Division has officially said it will stop approving hydraulic fracturing — also known as fracking — permits in the Golden State. The move comes three years after the state said that it would ban the environmentally destructive practice.

As detailed by the Sacramento Bee and posted by Phys.org, no new fracking permits have been issued since 2021, but the announcement from the division, nicknamed "CalGEM," is a step forward for California and for everyone who cares about the future of our planet. CalGEM expects the ban to be officially approved by the end of 2024.

"This regulatory change will improve the Department's Geologic Energy Management Division's ability to prevent damage to life, health, property, and natural resources ... including the mitigation and reduction of [planet-warming] emissions," said Jacob Roper, a spokesperson for the Department of Conservation, per the Bee.

"Symbolically, it means California is moving in the right direction. A ban on fracking is a simple no-brainer," Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute, told the Sacramento Bee. "Californians have wanted to end fracking for years, and hopefully this rule is an indication that they're getting serious on the rest of the [dirty-energy] industry."

Fracking is a type of oil and gas drilling process in which high-pressure water, chemicals, and sand are injected into the ground to break it up and make it easier to extract fuel. Critics say that it contaminates the earth and nearby water sources, and it creates tons of toxic wastewater — all in the name of extracting a dirty energy source that contributes to the overheating of our planet when burned.

While California is moving in the direction of banning fracking, another state is going the opposite way. Ohio recently decided to allow oil and gas fracking in some state parks over the protests of environmental advocates and residents.

There was some pushback against the ban in the Golden State, though, including by Chevron and the Western States Petroleum Association, which, according to CalMatters, together spent $18 million in total lobbying in the state's capital of Sacramento last year. WSPA president and CEO Catherine Reheis-Boyd claimed that "these types of policies are devastating to our state's energy supplies," per the Sacramento Bee. 

However, California is one of the nation's leaders in solar and wind power. Even though natural gas still accounted for the highest share of the state's electric generation, as of 2022, the state has been moving toward a renewable grid, as the San Diego Union-Tribune reported last year. 

California intends to be running entirely on clean energy by 2045.

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