Despite its green image, California is second only to Texas as an emitter of climate polluting greenhouse gasses. In fact, the state has issued 2,383 drilling permits since the beginning of the year, according to a report by Food & Water Watch. California Leads: How to Break Fossil Fuel Dependence in the Golden State details the web of fossil fuel infrastructure, including 298 gas-fired power plants and 100,000 miles of oil and gas pipelines currently engulfing the state, and the alarming proposed expansion of fossil fuel buildout in California.
Driven by energy deregulation, California has overbuilt gas power plants, even though energy use has declined over the last decade and the price of renewable energy is dropping. Most of this toxic infrastructure is located in the most vulnerable neighborhoods—in low-income communities of color near homes, schools and parks.
California also routinely allows oil companies to inject toxic wastewater into the ground, in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Some counties even allow oil companies to use wastewater to irrigate crops.
While running for office, Governor Gavin Newsom promised to move California away from polluting fossil fuels to renewable energy. He also pledged to close down the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility—the site of the worst gas blowout in U.S. history—and to “oppose fracking and other unsafe oil operations.” Governor Newsom has yet to take action on those promises since taking office at the beginning of 2019.
But California Leads: How to Break Fossil Fuel Dependence in the Golden State shows that the governor has the authority to order regulators to take many of the actions he promised on the campaign train—authority that would be strengthened by declaring a climate emergency.
Among the report's recommendations to Governor Newsom:
· Immediately stop issuing new fossil fuel permits and develop a plan to phase out fossil fuel production
· Ban fracking
· Permanently close the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility
· Develop a plan for fair and just transition to 100% clean. renewable energy by 2030
These are steps that Governor Newsom can take immediately, without legislative or regulatory approval.
California Leads: How to Break Fossil Fuel Dependence in the Golden State is a comprehensive look at the state’s oil and gas economy, that pulls back the curtain on California’s green image. It details the state’s dependence on fossil fuels and makes common-sense recommendations to quickly move California into a clean, renewable energy future.