Due of climate change concerns, California regulators are approving fewer fracking permits.

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Due of climate change concerns, California regulators are approving fewer fracking permits.

Because of concerns about climate change, California officials have authorized very few fracking licenses this year, according to the Associated Press.

This year, only 12 permits have been issued, down from 83 in 2020 and 220 in 2019.

According to the Associated Press, California’s Geologic Energy Management Division, or CalGEM, rejected 109 licenses in 2021, the most since the state legalized fracking in 2015. Aera Energy in Bakersfield was responsible for around half of the denied licenses.

In a letter to Aera in September, state oil and gas supervisor Uduak-Joe Ntuk said he couldn’t “give them the permits in good conscience” because of “the increasingly urgent climate effects of fossil-fuel production” and “the continuing impacts of climate change and hydraulic fracturing on public health and natural resources.”

After lawmakers failed to adopt a legislation, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom urged CalGEM to ban fracking by 2024, according to the Los Angeles Times. Newsom’s climate change plan includes a number of initiatives, including a ban on oil and gas development in California by 2045.

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and Kern County, where the majority of the state’s fracking occurs, have filed lawsuits. In a complaint filed in October, WSPA claims that CalGEM is required by state law to approve fracking if technical standards are met. They further claimed that, notwithstanding the lack of legislative clearance, the denials amounted to a ban.

WSPA’s complaint has a deadline of December 2 for the state to respond, while a hearing on the Kern County action is set for Monday.

See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.

Fracking is a method of extracting oil and gas by injecting high-pressure water into subsurface rock. Although it only contributes for 2% of California’s oil production, it is a very contentious practice because to concerns about water contamination and other health effects for those living nearby.

According to Hollin Kretzmann, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, the denials are “a indication that the tide is starting to shift, and the state is starting to put public health and the environment before the profits of the oil industry.”

The state’s permitting procedure, according to WSPA’s lawsuit, involves severe requirements designed to protect the public. This is a condensed version of the information.

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