California’s Kern County sued Governor Gavin Newsom “for violating the California Constitution and disregarding multiple State laws” with legislation and proposed legislation to restrict oil production and ban fracking in the state.
“Nearly two-thirds of what California doesn’t import comes from Kern County’s 76 active oilfields … a fact that also makes the County the seventh highest oil producing region in the United States,” the county said in a press release this week.
California imports around 70 percent of the oil its economy continues to need, Kern County says, noting that unlike oil imported from producers such as Iraq or Saudi Arabia, the oil produced in the county “is subject to the highest possible environmental and worker protection safeguards.”
In addition, Kern County oil producers pay every year more than $1.3 billion in wages to thousands of workers who, on average, earn double the County’s average wage, pay over $197 million in taxes and contribute around $9.1 billion to the County’s total economic output.
Earlier this year, Governor Newsom directed CalGEM to initiate regulatory action to end the issuance of new fracking permits by January 2024.
“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,” Governor Newsom said in April.
In its statement announcing the lawsuit, Kern County says:
“Heedless of the law and unfaithful to the California Constitution he swore to uphold, contrary to the needs of thousands of workers, families, schools and other governmental services dependent on Kern County’s oil and gas industry, and contrary to the forecasted harm to our State’s air quality, increased pollution, increased sea, rail and ground traffic, harm to consumers and disproportionate harm on minority and low-income populations, Governor Newsom has declared himself above the law.”
“The County’s lawsuit asks the Court to stop this power grab and return control to California’s elected Legislature,” it added.