Oil trading group sues state for denial of hydraulic fracturing permits | New

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A major oil industry trade group has targeted Gov. Gavin Newsom’s de facto fracking ban with a lawsuit in Kern County Superior Court that reflects charges brought by the county government in a lawsuit he filed. a month ago.

The Western States Petroleum Association’s 91-page lawsuit filed on Friday reiterates claims that the state’s recent denial of hydraulic fracturing permit applications oversteps the authority of the administration as set out in the Constitution of the United States. State. The lawsuit alleges that the state’s decision to block hydraulic fracturing contradicts previous state findings on well stimulation treatments, and that under the state’s Public Resources Code, the state is supposed to encourage oil production, not ban it.

Filed on behalf of WSPA by San Francisco-based law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, lawsuit names Newsom as defendant along with state oil and gas supervisor Uduak-Joe Ntuk; its agency, the California Geologic Energy Management Division; and the director of the State Department of Conservation, David Shabazian.

“Sadly, the State of California continues to take arbitrary actions that offer little positive benefit to our fight against climate change, but impose great impacts on Californians – on our finances, on our freedoms, essentially the way we are. live and work everyday, ”WSPA President and CEO Catherine Reheis-Boyd said in an emailed statement.

“CalGEM’s decision to deny future permits for operations (treatment and stimulation of wells such as hydraulic fracturing) ignores the law and is contrary to all scientific studies and evaluations that have been carried out by CalGEM itself as well as by other independent scientific bodies, ”she added.

The governor’s press office, noting in an email Monday that the state is facing a catastrophic oil spill off the coast of California, called the lawsuit “an attempt by the oil industry to impose more drilling. on our state “. He called the lawsuit a “direct threat to our communities and the environment”.

“California is the leader in the country’s clean energy future, implementing the most ambitious program to phase out oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing, gasoline-powered cars, state dependence on both foreign and domestic oil, and more, ”the email said.

A letter that Ntuk sent to Aera Energy LLC last month explained the reasons given for denying hydraulic fracturing requests from the Bakersfield-based oil producer. In it, the director of CalGEM said he rejected two rounds of Aera’s hydraulic fracturing applications out of concern for climate change, human health and the economy. He also claimed that Ntuk had the discretion to deny requests if he deemed it appropriate.

Fracking throws water, sand and sometimes toxic chemicals underground to open access to oil and gas reservoirs. Environmental and environmental justice groups argue the process endangers air and water quality, while industry supporters say there is no evidence of such prejudice in California, which is home to some of the country’s strictest rules on practice.

Last fall, Newsom asked the state legislature to send it a bill banning hydraulic fracturing by 2024. When the legislation that was passed died in commission, the governor issued an executive order to initiate a rulemaking process that would accomplish the same thing within the same timeframe. .

The WSPA said hydraulic fracturing has been done safely in California for decades and is important for production in the state’s mature oil fields. The lawsuit said Newsom’s de facto ban – no WST permit has been state approved for more than six months, he said – constitutes an arbitrary and capricious “abuse of discretion”.

The lawsuit attempts to argue that the administration’s refusal of fracking applications not only harms oil producers who have invested in the development and extraction of petroleum resources, but it sacrifices jobs and tax revenues. government, especially in Kern, in the heart of the West Coast. oil production.

It also claims, based on a state-commissioned scientific study, that California’s growing dependence on oil imported from abroad is worsening air quality, safety and the risk of pollution. dumping while having a greater negative impact on poor neighborhoods.


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