Energy poverty comes with bill requiring 3,200ft setbacks around oil and gas wells

Senate Bill 1137, a gutting law and amendment by Democratic Senators Lena Gonzalez and Monique Limón, would require mandatory 3,200-foot setbacks around California oil and gas wells.

What is really disconcerting is that “the bill would authorize the National Air Resources Board and the National Water Resources Control Board to prescribe, adopt and enforce any emergency regulations necessary to implement, administer and enforce these obligations. »

Why now when oil production has responsibly occurred in Los Angeles County and around the state for over 100 years?

Just in the city of Los Angeles:

  • there are 26 oil and gas fields that cross the city limits and 5,229 oil and gas wells, according to CA DOGGR and verified by the city’s petroleum administrator.
  • There are approximately 819 active wells, 296 inactive, 3,181 plugged and 933 buried wells.
  • There are oil and gas facilities in almost every section of the city’s 503 square miles.
  • The city of Los Angeles produces 2% of California’s total production.

In January, the Globe reported that the city of Los Angeles was proposing to ban all new oil and gas extraction, as well as to phase out all existing wells over the next twenty years. “If approved as an ordinance later this year, LA would phase out new drilling much sooner than the state and lead the county to phase out production much sooner than the state’s 2045 date.” LA City Council Speaker Nury Martinez said, “This is yet another example of how frontline communities are disproportionately bearing the impacts of pollution and climate change. Los Angeles is a city that consistently leads the way, and today, let’s remember that the City Council puts the health and well-being of every Angeleno first.

Requiring a 3,200-foot setback would impose a ban on all Los Angeles oil wells and drive up the cost of oil and gas in the state.

What is the story behind the “madness” of this bill, which goes far beyond the extraction of oil and gas from Los Angeles?

According to Dave Noerr, the “insanity” stems from frequently repeated false claims by the media that “the fossil fuel industry contributes to public health damage that kills hundreds of thousands of people in the United States each year. and disproportionately endanger Black, Brown, Indigenous, and poor communities,” (as City Council Speaker Nury Martinez said).

A National Institute of Health (NIH) environmental health study says a number of studies indicate that there may be negative health effects associated with living near the farm. oil and gas. Degraded air quality; contamination of surface water, groundwater and soil; and high noise and light pollution are exposure pathways that contribute to potential human health impacts.

Notice the language – “there is Perhaps negative health outcomes; ” “associated live near oil and gas development. The study never proves this in the affirmative, as they state in their conclusion (page 9/11).

Taft, Calif., Mayor and Huddleston Crane Service President and CEO Noerr says this is completely arbitrary and not based on science. The NIH study seems to prove it.

What was the methodology of the NIH study? “We geospatially overlay the locations of active oil and gas wells in the contiguous United States and census data to estimate the population living near hydrocarbon development at the national and state levels. We compare our methods and results with existing proximity studies.

Census data overlaid on a map… Sounds like a hypothesis looking for a study.

According to an Assembly Appropriations Committee analysis of a previous similar but more modest Oil Well Retirement Bill (AB 345 Muratsuchi), it could cost up to $4 billion in lost revenue to state and subject the state to significant legal liability under the taking of law clause. Constitution of the United States. The analysis indicated that there would be a minimum of $1 million in legal costs.

A recent study by the City of Los Angeles estimated that the potential cost to the city of establishing future setback distance could be as high as $97.6 billion in compensation for the future value of mineral rights due to dispute over catches. .

Noerr points out that in 1988 the state of California only imported about 4.5% of all the oil we consume in our state. He notes that in 2020 we imported more than 70%. “If you’re wondering what happens when you give up on energy independence, this is what happens.”

Noerr told the Globe he started working at the Taft oilfields in 1981 as a roustabout (entry-level worker) and worked his way up. In 1991, he became president of Huddleston Crane Service, Inc., which provides petroleum services in the Taft area. He was elected to Taft Town Council in 2004 and is in his fourth term and second term as mayor.

To prove his claims, Noerr asked the Globe to go to the CalGEM (formerly Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, DOGGR) website, search for “well-finder”, type in the town of Delano, CA , and filter “active”. wells.” There are 7-9 wells in Delano that existed long before the local government approved the construction of homes and the community around them.

He said he has worked beside oil wells since 1981. He lives in Taft, raised his family in Taft, surrounded by tens of thousands of oil wells and legacy oil fields (map below), and they are all healthy people. Taft celebrated its centennial in 2010 – it’s been around for 122 years and, as Noerr says, the people of Taft are no sicker or dying than anywhere else in the state.

Taft oil well map. (Photo:

Noerr said if the governor, lawmakers and the state of California force oil wells to shut down due to the 3,200-foot setback, California would sink into energy poverty — and especially the underserved, people of color and the poor who cannot afford solar power from rooftop systems or expensive electric cars.

But that doesn’t seem to be about the private jet class or the political elites.

“’Energy poverty’ is a widespread problem across Europe, as between 50 and 125 million people* cannot afford adequate indoor thermal comfort,” explains the European Union. Energy poverty occurs when energy bills represent a high percentage of household income, which affects the ability to pay other household expenses. It also happens when, as the EU has said, consumers are forced to reduce their household energy consumption, which affects their health and well-being.

Energy costs in Europe are expected to rise by 1,000% almost immediately: oil prices have doubled, coal prices have quadrupled and natural gas has increased sevenfold.

Do the authors of AB 1137 understand that by banning existing oil wells, California will be plunged into immediate energy poverty? Is this the plan?

Noerr noted that it’s California’s green policies, including surcharges, taxes and fees, that are driving up the cost of energy — something green energy proponents want. Prohibiting oil fields would only greatly exacerbate the problem into a total crisis as we are seeing in real time in Europe.

“The green rush in Europe is a fantasy,” Noerr said. In its attempt to build “a climate-friendly future”, Europe has shunned oil, natural gas and nuclear power, to its own detriment – and is now paying 80% higher energy bills.

As a result, European Union lawmakers voted in July to include natural gas and nuclear in the bloc’s list of sustainable activities, backing a proposal by the EU executive that drew heavy criticism from the EU. from environmental groups and now appears poised to raise legal challenges, ABC News reported in July.

California lawmakers need only watch Europe’s greenwashing to see where California is headed if AB 1137 passes and becomes law.

“According to the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) peer-reviewed study of the impacts of oil and gas operations, ‘In the South Coast Air District (including all of Orange County, areas not desert areas of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County), upstream oil and gas sources account for small proportions (

“Several studies conducted by the Department of Public Health and the Los Angeles County Oil and Gas Strike Team have found that the overall health of residents who live near oil and gas operations is similar to the overall health residents of Los Angeles County.”

In the United States, there are currently more than 20 million homes in arrears with energy bills. In California, energy poverty is real and pushes people deeper into poverty.

Noerr said for those genuinely interested in reducing carbon emissions, the global textile industry has a much larger carbon footprint than the aviation industry. He also said the “invisible trash” for a laptop is 1,200 kilograms, or 2,645.5 pounds. For an electric vehicle, there are 500,000 pounds of “invisible waste”.

“Invisible waste” refers to the large amount of waste generated during the manufacturing process of products.

“Gavin seems to think he can wave his magic wand and we’ll all be driving electric vehicles,” Noerr said. “Even Elon Musk knows that 52% of his cars are plastic.”

Even Elon Musk knows we need more oil and gas production. CNBC reported, “Really, I think we have to use oil and gas in the short term, because otherwise civilization will collapse,” Musk said.

According to some estimates, recharging an electric car is equivalent to 25 refrigerators.

“One of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced is the transition to sustainable energy and a sustainable economy,” Musk said. “It will take a few decades to complete.”

Green energy cannot replace oil and gas, and is far from replacing oil, gas and coal.

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