California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said the state will stop issuing hydraulic fracking permits by 2024 to end oil extraction activities, as part of the state's push to combat climate change and achieve carbon neutrality.

Newsom’s order, issued April 23, directs the state Dept. of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division to start rulemaking on the permitting change and asks that the California Air Resources Board research ways to phase out all oil extraction statewide by 2045.

“The climate crisis is real, and we continue to see the signs every day,” said Newsom in a statement. “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 ... and, similarly, believe that California needs to move beyond oil.”

The board will evaluate how to phase out oil extraction through the Climate Change Scoping Plan, which identifies how California can reach its 2030 climate target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 1990 levels and by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The scoping process will include cross-sector collaboration and public input that focus on benefits in disadvantaged communities, job creation and economic development.

The announcement is “bad policy masquerading as climate progress,” said Megan Bloomgren, American Petroleum Institute senior vice president, in a statement. “History shows that wrongheaded policies to ban energy options only leads to increased costs for Californians and fewer jobs.” 

California climate advocates applauded Newsom’s directive and hope the state's lead will motivate other states and countries to set deadlines to end fracking.

“It’s historic and globally significant that Gov. Newsom has committed California to phase out fossil fuel production and ban fracking, but we don’t have time for studies and delays,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity.  

Tara Messing, staff attorney at the Environmental Defense Center, said Newsom's call to limit state oil production “is exactly right, but we must move quicker, and a fracking ban is only one piece of the puzzle.” She said processes such as cyclic steam injection and steam flooding “threaten our communities’ water and air, and our state’s mosaic of natural resources.”