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Climate groups applaud Gavin Newsom’s temporary fracking ban in California, but say other ‘critical next steps’ still needed

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“Relentless organizing” by climate action groups across California forced the governor to call for a moratorium on fracking, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben said.

Anti-fracking advocates were cautiously optimistic Tuesday after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on fracking in the state and new steps to mitigate the disastrous public health effects that extractive industries have on communities.

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Author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben credited “relentless organizing” with pressuring the Democratic governor to ban—at least temporarily—the high-pressure steam injection central to the fracking process and pledge to reverse the increase in drilling permits that’s taken place under Newsom’s administration.

“It’s not all that activists wanted, but that language is an important signal,” McKibben wrote of the temporary fracking ban.

Newsom announced that, along with the fracking lease moratorium, the state would also commission an independent audit of regulators tasked with overseeing the oil and gas industries and would have federal scientists conduct third-party reviews of all drilling lease requests going forward.

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The state will also strengthen protections for communities near oil and gas wells.

“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.

The governor’s response to years of anti-fracking campaigning in California shows “that the future of climate leadership means saying ‘no’ to the fossil fuel industry’s dreams of endless expansion,” said Stephen Kretzmann, executive director at Oil Change International.

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“As the world’s fifth-largest economy and home to substantial fossil fuel extraction, California has a responsibility to model a just transition away from fossil fuels in line with the scale of action needed to address our climate crisis,” Kretzmann said. “Phasing out existing extraction that’s too close to communities, stopping all new permits that expand drilling, and investing adequate resources to ensure nobody is left behind in the transition to a renewable economy are critical next steps.”

Oil Change International and other groups emphasized, however, that a full ban on fracking is needed.

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“Since Governor Newsom took office, thousands of new drilling permits have been issued,” said Alexandra Nagy, California state director for Food and Water Action. “We urge Governor Newsom to immediately institute a complete ban on fracking, stop issuing new drilling permits—which have been increasing under his administration—and use his executive authority to protect communities across the state now.”

While Tuesday’s announcement certainly represents progress, said Nagy, “much more should be done to address oil and gas issues in California.”

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Dershowitz is running a ‘bizarro defense’ of Trump: Harvard Law colleague says ‘Alan is just completely wacko’

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Two of the most famous names associated with Harvard Law School had competing appearances on MSNBC on Friday.

It began when Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus, was interviewed MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber about his new role officially representing President Donald Trump during the Senate impeachment trial.

Dershowitz claimed that neither abuse of power nor obstruction of Congress count as "high crimes" under the constitution.

Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has also been associated with Harvard Law for five decades, was asked about Dershowitz's argument during an interview with Chris Hayes.

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Why was Lev Parnas wearing a ‘Presidential Service Badge’ awarded to troops who serve in the White House?

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Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman posted a fascinating update about a photo of impeachment figure Lev Parnas.

The photo shows Igor Fruman -- who, like Parnas, is under federal indictment -- sitting closely next to Rudy Giuliani and Parnas.

Haber said a source informed her that in the picture, Parnas can be seen wearing a "Presidential Service Badge," linking to the Wikipedia entry on the pin.

"The Presidential Service Badge (PSB) is an identification badge of the United States Armed Forces which is awarded to members of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Coast Guard as well as other members of the Uniformed Services, such as the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, who serve as full-time military staff to the President of the United States," Wikipedia explained.

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Trump’s big-money Florida fundraiser expected to bring in $10 million — from only 100 people

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President Donald Trump flew to Mar-a-Lago on Friday after receiving a formal summons from the U.S. Senate informing him of his impeachment trial.

The president will be attending a Friday evening campaign fundraiser.

The recipient of the money is Trump Victory, which is a joint fundraising committee set up by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee.

“Tonight’s Trump Victory fundraiser is expected to raise $10 million with approximately 100 people in attendance," the campaign told the White House pool reporter.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1218264289225728000

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