After a large oil spill in Orange County, Ca, the state of California is focusing on expanding protections for communities located near oil drilling operations.
According to Huffpost, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Thursday morning his administration has drafted a rule proposing a mandatory 3,200-foot barrier between new oil and gas wells and homes, schools and hospitals, a substantial shift as the state previously had no limit in many areas and effectively allowed drilling in many Californians’ backyards. Following a public comment period and economic analysis, the regulation could go into effect in 2023.
“Our reliance on fossil fuels has resulted in more kids getting asthma, more children born with birth defects, and more communities exposed to toxic, dangerous chemicals. We are committed to protecting public health, the economy and our environment as we transition to a greener future that reckons with the realities of the climate crisis we’re all facing,” says Newsom.
More than 2 million Californians live within 3,200 feet (975 meters) of oil drilling sites, primarily low-income residents and people of color in Los Angeles County and the Central Valley. The proposal would not ban wells already operating in those zones but would add new pollution controls, reports AP.
If this draft were to go into effect, this would be the first time California has set rules as to how close drilling can be to communities.