California Bans Fracking In Major Win For The Environment And Public Health

In yet another blow to the fossil fuel industry to the benefit of the environment and public health, California just banned fracking.

Hydraulic fracking is a process of extracting paltry amounts of oil from shale rocks by pumping chemicals into the ground at high pressure. Studies show that fracking sites are not safe for the public, being toxic up to 2,000 feet away, putting communities across the country at risk unless you happen to live in a state that has banned it such as Vermont, Washington, Maryland and New York.

But this week, California joined these states to become the latest to ban fracking after several fracking wells leaked forcing  Governor Gavin Newsom to halt all new fracking permits.

In a statement on Twitter, Newsom declared that it’s time for the United States to end our dependence on fossil fuels and turn to cleaner renewable energy sources that won’t pollute the world or make our drinking water flammable.

“We need to phase out our dependence on fossil fuels and focus on clean energy sources,” Newsom said. “All new fracking will be reviewed by independent scientists. There will be no more new permits for high-pressure steam-injected oil drilling in California.”

Newsom began rolling out the new policies by restricting oil and gas exploration across the state, along with banning new wells that use a new process that increases the likelihood of leaking. He then acknowledged that the transition to clean energy won’t happen immediately, but it’s necessary.

“These are necessary steps to strengthen oversight of oil and gas extraction as we phase out our dependence on fossil fuels and focus on clean energy sources,” Newsom said according to the Los Angeles Times. “This transition cannot happen overnight; it must advance in a deliberate way to protect people, our environment, and our economy.”

Indeed, but the transition must happen nonetheless. After all, the public health depends on it, and studies overwhelmingly prove it.

Furthermore, fracking is only making climate change worse as emissions increase because of the wells being dug and expelling greenhouse gases trapped underground.

And President Donald Trump is only trying to escalate the situation by opening up millions of acres of public land to the fossil fuel industry, including millions of acres of public lands in California.

Of course, this means Newsom’s decision is directly challenging Trump’s intention to give the fossil fuel industry license to drill and pollute at will.

But climate experts are praising the ban, which has a lot of power since California is the fifth-largest economy in the world.

“Governor Newsom’s historic action protects Californians from some of the most dangerous and destructive oil-extraction techniques,” Center of Biological Diversity Climate Law Institute director Kassie Siegel said in a statement. “This marks the turning of the tide against the oil industry, which has been allowed to drill at will in our state for more than 150 years.”

Clearly, the fossil fuel industry hates the ban because it stops them from making a profit off of raping the land. But this is the best decision California could have made and it will make a big difference to the environment and public health. That’s what truly matters most.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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