The Oil and Gas Industry Is Threatening California’s Oil and Gas Regulations

Editorial: Oil drillers want to overturn California’s new health protections. Don’t let them succeed

Oil drillers want to overturn California’s new health protections

By David Walsh

Last Updated: 03/17/2013 5:26:12 PM PDT

What started as a grassroots campaign of concern for protecting the health of Californians from oil drilling in their waters has grown into a movement that may force the state to turn back an attempt by the industry to overturn its new clean oil and gas regulations in the state.

In November of 2011, Californians were the first to become aware that the federal Oil and Gas Royalty Board was seeking to rewrite state oil drilling regulations through a proposed rule change that would strip state lawmakers of their ability to pass environmental reviews in any future legislation that regulates oil drilling.

This was not an unprecedented move by the federal government, as had been done by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and a similar effort by the Bureau of Land Management in 2008, according to the New York Times.

Nor was it a unique strategy by the industry, as another effort to rewrite California’s oil and gas rules was pushed through the state by the Western Energy Alliance, a loose coalition of big energy companies.

California has long been a leader in the world of environmental regulation and a model for the rest of the nation, and now its oil and gas regulations may have been threatened.

In the past, California has been recognized for protecting water and air, and a major focus on protecting our natural resources.

In May of 2009, the governor and the state Legislature created the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to serve as a guide for state agencies on how to use land, water and air resources that may be in danger of harm from a project.

The state requires that a project be constructed in such a way to minimize the impact on the natural environment. The proposed amendments to the California energy and gas rules, which were crafted by the California Department of Conservation and Resource Protection, may do the opposite of what is expected from the state.

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