Newsom Proposes Rule to Protect Communities from Oil Drilling

Setback Requirement Would be Largest Statewide Standard in the Country

SACRAMENTO  – Governor Newsom and his oil and gas supervisor, Uduak-Joe Ntuk, today announced a draft rule that would help protect communities from the health risks of oil drilling. California is the only oil producing state in the country without a minimum distance requirement between oil wells and homes, schools, hospitals, daycare centers, and other gathering places. Newsom’s announcement that California is proposing a 3,200-foot setback between new wells and neighborhoods, as well as strong pollution controls on existing wells, is particularly important for California’s communities who bear a disproportionate health burden from fossil fuel production.   

Below is a statement from Ann Alexander, Senior Attorney at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council):   

“California is really taking the bull by the horns this time. State regulators listened to the scientists and did not shy away from proposing the largest statewide setback requirement in the nation when it became clear that it was needed to protect public health. This sends a message to the oil industry that it will not be coddled anymore. Governor Newsom and his team are displaying some real leadership chops with this proposal.” 

“It’s a great first step toward freeing these communities and our state entirely from the health and climate harm wreaked by oil drilling.” 

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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