In a unanimous vote, Los Angeles County backed a ban on oil and gas drilling, which means some 1,600 active and inactive wells would be shut down, the AP reported, adding the timeline for the shut-down has yet to be determined.
“The goal is to provide direction to county departments to begin addressing the variety of issues, environmental and climate impacts created by these active and inactive oil and gas wells,” said LA County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. She represents the district that houses most of the Inglewood oilfield—one of the largest urban oilfields in the country.
The California Independent Petroleum Association was against the vote, saying it would lead to hundreds of job losses, raise prices at the pump, and increase California’s dependency on foreign oil.
The state imports about 70 percent of the oil it needs. It is also the largest jet fuel and gasoline consumer in the States. California accounted for 17 percent of U.S. jet fuel consumption and 11 percent of motor gasoline consumption in 2019, the last “normal” year of fuel demand, according to EIA data.
California was also the third-largest U.S. state by refining capacity as of early 2020, while foreign oil suppliers, led by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Ecuador, and Colombia, provided more than half of the crude oil refined in California in 2019.
Meanwhile, California is the state with perhaps the most ambitious decarbonization targets and has been the most active in trying to achieve them. Earlier this year, Governor Gavin Newsom, who recently beat a recall vote, told the Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management (CalGEM) Division to initiate regulatory action to end the issuance of new fracking permits by January 2024.
What’s more, he asked the California Air Resources Board to start thinking of ways to phase out all oil production in the state altogether.
“As we move to swiftly decarbonize our transportation sector and create a healthier future for our children, I’ve made it clear I don’t see a role for fracking in that future and, similarly, believe that California needs to move beyond oil,” Newsom said in April.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com