The “Keep it In the Ground,” anti-oil and gas industry movement is going after the industry with more legislation disguised to address health and local control issues, despite that California already has the most environmentally regulated oil and gas production in the world, regulated by more than 25 agencies.
“Keep It in the Ground” is a global protest movement opposing fossil fuel development.
California was the fourth-largest producer of crude oil among the 50 states in 2017, after Texas, North Dakota, and Alaska, and, as of January 2018, third in oil refining capacity after Texas and Louisiana.
AB 345 by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), would increase setback distance between oil production facilities and private and public property to 2,500 feet for every well, existing or planned in the state.
According to the Western States Petroleum Association and the California Independent Petroleum Association, this bill, if passed, would effectively end oil production in many parts of the state and threaten the future of production IN ALL PARTS OF THE STATE, for example:
- 87% of all wells in the City of Los Angeles would be shut in
- 66% of the well in Los Angeles County would be shut in
- Thousands of wells in Kern County will be shut in
AB 345 creates a 2,500 foot setback requirement between any oil or gas well or facility and any residence, school, playground, hospital, or health clinic, and, further, gives counties and cities the power to require even greater setbacks.
While AB 345 claims to limit its effects to wells drilled after January 1, 2020, its details indicate it could be ultimately be applied to all wells, new or existing, effectively ending most, if not all, oil production in Santa Barbara County.
The bill analysis by the Assembly Natural Resources committee states: “The proximity to oil and gas extraction, including the use of hydraulic fracturing, well acidization, and other nonconventional oil and gas extraction techniques, adversely impacts public health and safety.”
The bill analysis explains these adverse impacts to public health and safety: “Studies link proximity to oil and gas wells to a host of health impacts, including increased risk of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, pre-term births and highrisk pregnancies, and in some cases, cancer. Oil and gas extraction produces air toxics, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene and formaldehyde, fine and ultra-fine particulate matter (PM), and hydrogen sulfide. Other risks include water contamination, toxic chemicals spills, and explosions. Kern and Los Angeles Counties account for more than 80 percent of the overall oil production in California, placing some of our state’s most overburdened residents’ health and safety at risk, due to the hazards posed by close proximity production.”
The California Council on Science and Technology produced the 2015 study cited in this bill.
According to Charity Navigator, the California Council on Science and Technology has not been rated since its inception in 1988. The board of directors and staff is mostly made up of California academics.
The direct negative effects of AB 345 would be enormous. Specifically, according to oil industry statistics, AB 345 would lead to a loss of approximately 7,000 high wage, blue collar jobs in Los Angeles County given that approximately 87% of all the wells in the City of Los Angeles and 66% of all wells in Los Angeles County would be shut down. In addition, this would result in approximately $205 million in lost tax revenue to the county of Los Angeles and approximately $2 billion overall lost economic output.
The economies of Kern County and Ventura County would be similarly decimated, and oil production in California coastal counties would effectively be wiped out, according to industry associations.
The bill sponsors include local, state and national environmental justice groups.
There is a hearing in the Natural Resources Committee on AB 345 Monday April 22.
California Globe will be there, and report back.