California is the seventh-largest oil producing state in the country, with a fossil fuel industry that is responsible for billions of dollars in state and local revenue and other economic activity each year.
Yet continued oil and gas production contrasts with the states aggressive climate mitigation policies, while creating significant air and water pollution, particularly for disadvantaged communities in areas where much of the states drilling occurs.
As a result of these risks, many advocates and policymakers seek ways to enhance regulation of and eventually phase out oil and gas production in California. Recent global price wars and declining demand from the COVID-19 pandemic have underscored the need to conduct this phase-out in a just and orderly fashion.
To provide legal options for policy makers to facilitate this transition, Berkeley Laws Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) is today releasing the new report Legal Grounds: Law and Policy Options to Facilitate a Phase-Out of Fossil Fuel Production in California, co-authored with CLEE climate law and policy fellow Ted Lamm.
The report analyzes steps California leaders could pursue on state- and privately-owned lands to achieve this reduction. Among the options discussed, state leaders could:
To learn more about the report findings, please join our free webinar on Tuesday, May 12th, from 11am to noon, with Sean Hecht of UCLA Law and Ingrid Brostrom of the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment. Registration is here.
This report ultimately comes at a unique moment in the history of in-state oil and gas production. The industry is struggling economically due to a global collapse in oil prices and a decrease in demand from COVID-19-related shutdowns. As sheltering Americans temporarily buy less gas and some drilling companies are approaching or entering bankruptcy with record-low oil prices, an intelligently structured phase-out could result in less harm to jobs and local economies. And Californias actions could demonstrate to other states and countries how to successfully sunset their fossil fuel production.
We hope the menu of law and policy options presented in Legal Grounds will assist state leaders in addressing these challenges and charting a new course for Californias in-state fossil fuel production.
Cross-posted from Legal Planet.