Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom just announced a bold new environmental proposal that could threaten his state’s economic prosperity.
In a statement on Friday, he revealed plans to ban the issuance of new permits for natural gas fracking in California by 2024 as part of a broader plan to end all oil extraction and production in the state within the next 25 years.
Move draws backlash
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking for short, is the innovative method of obtaining natural gas that would be difficult to extract through traditional drilling techniques.
Though the method has been credited with making the U.S. a top producer of affordable energy, it has also drawn pointed criticism from environmental groups and activists.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsom’s plan was announced amid pressure from such groups, many of which described the move as a victory for their cause.
A legislative effort to end virtually all fossil fuel production died in committee last week. As a result, the governor is said to be prepared to take action on his own, starting with a ban on fracking permits within a few years.
The Los Angeles Times noted, however, that his recent announcement struck some Californians as hypocritical given his prior assertion that he did not have the authority to implement such orders.
“Prioritized an anti-energy agenda”
Newsom’s move could be an effort to solidify support among progressives as he faces a likely recall election later this year, though it could cement even more opposition against him.
It does seem to fit in with his overall anti-energy platform, though, which also includes a plan to end oil extraction altogether and make the state carbon-neutral by 2045 as well as ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
Critics of the fracking ban, including moderate Democrats, claim that it would cost thousands of jobs, decrease revenues, increase energy prices, and elevate dependence on foreign energy sources, among other likely drawbacks.
For their part, the state’s Republican Party decried the plan as foolish and out of touch.
In a statement, the party declared: “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.”