CA Dangerously Close To Approving 10,000 Oil Drilling Permits since Newsom Assumed Office; Groups Demand Gov. Deliver On Putting Oil Drilling Into Rear View Mirror

Los Angeles, CA — Governor Newsom’s oil regulators have approved 9,728 oil drilling permits since he assumed office in 2019, according to a new analysis of permits approved through October 1, 2021and posted at www.NewsomWellWatch.org by Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance.  The groups said Newsom should immediately cease approval of more oil permits to avoid hitting the 10,000 mark.

Climate Activists Applaud Gov. Newsom's Fracking Ban But Caution It Still A ‘Half-Measure’

By Staff Reporters, PRESS TV

April 24, 2021

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2021/04/24/650179/Climate-change-Califor…

Climate action advocates have cautiously praised California Governor Gavin Newsom's plan to ban hydraulic fracturing by 2024, but stressed that the move is still a half-measure as it allows continued oil drilling for the next two-and-a-half years.

California's New Fossil Fuel Pledge 'Significant' But Still a 'Half-Measure,' Say Climate Advocates

By Kenny Stencil and Jessica Corbett , COMMON DREAMS

April 23, 2021

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/04/23/californias-new-fossil-fue…

Climate campaigners on Friday cautiously applauded California Gov. Gavin Newsom's moves to cut off new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024 and evaluate phasing out oil production by 2045, while also stressing that the timeline still needs to be accelerated.

California Governor Tells Top Oil Regulator To Phase Out New Fracking By 2024

By Janet Wilson, THE PALM SPRINGS DESERT SUN

April 23, 2021

https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2021/04/23/california-…

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday directed the state's top oil regulator, the Geologic Energy Management Division, to immediately begin crafting a regulation to halt new hydraulic fracturing permits by 2024.

Consumer Watchdog Applauds Bill To Ban All Dangerous Forms Of Oil Extraction Including Hydraulic Fracturing

Los Angeles, CA — Consumer Watchdog today welcomed newly introduced state legislation—SB 467—to ban fracking and a host of other more commonly employed and dangerous techniques used to coax stubborn-and-hard to reach oil and gas out of the ground.

Newsom Administration Doubles New Oil And Gas Production Well Permits, Misses Deadline for Drilling Setback Rule

Los Angeles, CA — California oil regulators more than doubled the dispensing of permits in 2020 to drill new oil and gas production wells, issuing more than 1,700 in 2020, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance reported today. 

At the same time, the Newsom Administration failed to meet its own New Year’s Eve deadline for a draft rule designating the safe distance for drilling from a community, giving itself until Spring.  Public interest groups who have pushed for a 2,500-foot setback are troubled by the delay. States such as Colorado have instituted setbacks of 2,000 feet.

Newsom Administration Issues Six More Fracking Permits To Aera Energy Consumer Watchdog Says

Los Angeles, CA — The Newsom Administration issued six more fracking permits to Aera Energy late on Friday afternoon at a time of great risk to the environment and to the public health of affected communities also exposed to Covid 19, Consumer Watchdog said today.

The number of fracking permits issued this year—despite a nine-month moratorium imposed by Newsom that ended last April—now comes to 54 issued to Aera and Chevron. 

CA Regulators Issue 6 New Fracking Permits Yesterday, Bringing The Total This Year To 54

By Dan Bacher, RED GREEN & BLUE

October 17, 2020

http://redgreenandblue.org/2020/10/17/ca-regulators-issue-6-new-frackin…

The agency approved the permits after an independent technical review by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, according to Matt Baker, Deputy Secretary for Energy of the California Natural Resources Agency.

The All-Star Economic Task Force Advising Newsom During The Pandemic Remains A Mystery

By Phil Willon, LOS ANGELES TIMES

August 10, 2020

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-08-10/newsom-coronavirus-…

SACRAMENTO —  Faced with a pandemic that has put millions of Californians out of work and eviscerated businesses large and small, Gov. Gavin Newsom promised that “health and science” would guide state officials in repairing the economy and steering it toward recovery.

CalGEM Regulators Divest Oil Stocks In Wake Of Consumer Watchdog Conflicts Probe

 Los Angeles, CA — Oil and gas regulators at the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) no longer hold oil stocks or other interests in the sector that they regulate in a radical departure from past practices, Consumer Watchdog said today.

A new conflict of interest policy at the division’s parent agency, the Department of Conservation (DOC), now prohibits such investments without explicit written approval by DOC’s director.

Proof of Harm To CA’s Unborn From Proximity To Oil Wells Proves Need For Barrier Between Wells And People, Says Consumer Watchdog

Los Angeles, CA — The first definitive study showing perinatal harm from oil production in California to pregnant mothers proves that the state must institute a barrier of 2,500 feet between residents and oil wells and stop issuing new oil permits for wells within that zone, Consumer Watchdog said today.

California Study Finds Lower Birth Weights Near Oil, Gas Wells

Study looked at 3 million birth certificates and oil, gas info - Low birth weights found in rural areas near active wells

By Emily C. Dooley, BLOOMBERG

June 3, 2020

Pregnant women living in rural areas close to active oil and gas wells are at higher risk o f having babies that weigh less than those born in urban areas, a study of millions of birth records in California shows.

CA Oil Well Permits Under Gov. Newsom Outpace First Quarter Last Year In Loss For Public Health, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance Report

Los Angeles, CA—As the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded, new oil well permits under Gov. Gavin Newsom rose 7.8% in the first quarter of 2020 through April 4, compared to the first quarter of 2019, Consumer Watchdog and FrackTrackerAlliance reported today. The Newsom Administration issued 1,623 permits during the first quarter of 2020. It also approved 24 fracking permits after a nine-month moratorium. The total number of permits issued under Newsom since he took office in January 2019 is 6,168.

Coalition Slams Newsom Administration For Approving 24 New Fracking Permits

By Dan Bacher, SF INDYBAY MEDIA

April 11, 2020

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/04/11/18832287.php

The issuing of new fracking permits took place less than two months after Consumer Watchdog and the FracTracker Alliance reported that the total number of oil and gas well permits issued in 2019 under the Newsom Administration rivals the number issued during the last year in office of former Governor Jerry Brown.

California Issues First New Fracking Permits Since July

By Adam Beam, ASSOCIATED PRESS

April 4, 2020

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/california-issues-first-new-fracking-…

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California issued 24 hydraulic fracturing permits on Friday, authorizing the first new oil wells in the state since July of last year and angering environmental groups who have been pressuring the state to ban the procedure known as fracking.

Number Of Oil And Gas Well Permits Issued By Newsom Administration In 2019 Rivals Number Issued In Gov. Jerry Brown’s Last Year In Office

Los Angeles, CA—The total number of oil and gas well permits issued in 2019 under the Newsom Administration rivals the number issued in 2018 during the last year in office of former Governor Jerry Brown, Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance reported today. The Newsom Administration issued just 1% fewer permits for a total of 4,545 versus 4,590 for all of 2018.

Consumer Watchdog Applauds Departure of Another Regulator Who Protected Big Oil As Hopeful Sign Of Major Reform Under Gov. Newsom

Los Angeles, CA - Consumer Watchdog hailed the imminent departure of the Department of Conservation’s Chief Deputy Director, widely seen as an impediment to environmental reform, as a sign that Governor Newsom plans to overhaul the way oil and gas is regulated in the state.

Why is the Oil Industry Harassing Consumer Watchdog?

As Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Michael Hiltzik lays out in his column today in the Los Angeles Times, the world’s biggest oil and gas companies have wasted over 500 hours of Consumer Watchdog’s legal time over the last 18 months trying to get a peek at how we know what we know about the oil industry.  Thank you to Consumer Watchdog staff attorney Danny Sternberg for all his hard work defending the organization.

Consumer Watchdog Applauds Newsom Call for AG Action on CA Gas Price Gouging

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog said today that a new state report finding that major oil companies are overcharging their own stations in order to gouge California consumers vindicates the analysis that it has made since 2015 and requires new state laws to protect drivers.  

The nonprofit nonpartisan consumer group applauded Governor Newsom’s call for an investigation and possible prosecution by the California Attorney General into the problem.

DOGGR Regulator Fired Over Conflicts of Interest and Increased Oil Well Permits

Gov Newsom Fires Top Oil Regulator & Institutes Sweeping Ethics Review of Agency In Response To Watchdog Report of Conflicts

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog today thanked Governor Gavin Newsom for firing the state’s top oil and gas supervisor and instituting an ethics review of the state’s oil well approval and inspection process in response to its recent report of conflicts at the agency and request.

Watchdogs Call For Resignations & Permit Freeze As California Oil Regulators Approve Surge In Well Permits While Personally Invested In Oil Companies

Los Angeles, CA -- A review of state conflict of interest forms shows that eight regulators managing the state’s oil and gas well approval and inspection process have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the oil companies they regulate.  One of the regulators is among the top three in command at the State’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR).

Consumer Watchdog Applauds Governor Newsom’s Energy Commission Report Taking on Gas Price Manipulation

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog said today that the California Energy Commission under Governor Gavin Newsom is finally taking steps to confront artificially high gasoline prices in California by acknowledging the role of oil refiners' supply and retail price manipulation in sky-high pump prices.  

Maui Utilities’ Junket While Paradise Burned Should Spark New Rules For Real-time Disclosure of Lawmaker Trips

Los Angeles, CA -- In a letter to California’s legislative leaders, Consumer Watchdog today wrote that the shocking details of a utility junket in Maui with 12 state lawmakers while wildfires destroyed the state  should compel new immediate online disclosures about such trips.

Top 10 US Insurance Companies Invest $51 Billion In Fossil Fuels

Los Angeles, CA — As a UN panel finds the world is losing the war with global warming and urgent action is needed, US insurance companies have reported holding more than $50.9 billion in fossil fuel investments that exacerbate climate change, according to reporting to national insurance regulators.

Consumer Watchdog’s review of public filings reveals nine of the 10 largest American insurance companies have considered the impact of climate change on their investments, but only two, AIG and Farmers, say that they have altered their investment strategy in response.

Consumer Watchdog To Insurance Companies: Stop Underwriting Fossil Fuel Projects That Exacerbate Fires And Hurricanes

San Francisco, CA – The nonprofit consumer group responsible for the most effective regulation of the insurance industry in America said today it would be challenging America’s insurance companies to join their European counterparts in refusing to underwrite coal and fossil fuel projects.

TV Ad Of Youngster Schooling Gov. Brown For Being “Being Cruel And Heartless” On Oil Drilling Hits San Francisco Airwaves

San Francisco, CA — A 30-second tv ad featuring a 9-year old  girl admonishing Governor Brown for allowing oil drilling next to homes airs today on CNN and MSNBC in advance of Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit kick-off this week in San Francisco.  The "Jerry's Kids" tv ad campaign is paid for by nonprofits Consumer Watchdog and Food & Water Watch.

​​​​​​​Consumer Watchdog Thanks Jerry Brown For Signature On SB 100 But Says It Will Not Help Kids Living In Shadows Of Oil Wells

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog congratulated legislative leaders and Governor Brown today for pushing through and signing SB 100, historic legislation that sets out to decarbonize the electricity sector completely by 2045. But the nonprofit group said Brown still must use its executive powers to stop neighborhood oil drilling and take on oil drilling directly. 

Brown Needs To Shut Down Oil Wells He Controls In State Waters After He Signs Important Bill Today Limiting Federal OffShore Drilling 

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog thanked Governor Brown for signing important legislation today trying to stop activation of oil wells in federal waters. The nonprofit group noted that Brown has jurisdiction over four times more state oil wells in state waters off California’s coast than oil wells Trump has control of in federal waters off the coast and Brown needs to shut those wells down. (Click on this map for the details)

Consumer and Environmental Advocates Call On Gov. Brown to Stop California Energy Transfer to Trump

SACRAMENTO, CA — Environmental and consumer advocates today urged Governor Jerry Brown to resist the threat of a Trump takeover of the California electricity grid and to also oppose Trump’s plans to frack and drill California. A western regional electricity market would subject Californians to increased power imports from coal-heavy states and higher bills from speculation on power contracts, in a regional grid under the oversight of the Trump administration.

Watchdog Offers New Info That Western Power Market Plan is Enron All Over Again Without The Legal Remedy

Los Angeles, CA -- As the Governor is expected to announce special deliberations on utility proposals shortly, Consumer Watchdog offered new information to the legislature about problems with the proposed new Western power market. The group warned that legislation to subsume California’s electricity grid into a giant regional power trading system will not only open the state to trading manipulation, but permanently hobble California when it comes to prosecuting Enron-style manipulation in the future.

Consumer Watchdog Condemns California Senate Energy Committee Vote For Western Power Trading Casino

Los Angeles, CA — The California Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee voted today to pass legislation turning California into a giant Western power trading casino that puts ratepayers and the environment at risk, Consumer Watchdog said in condemning the vote for AB 813.

Report Warns of Enron All Over Again As Governor Jerry Brown And Electricity Deregulation Era Fixers Poised To Rip Off California Ratepayers

Los Angeles, CA— California leaders are being pressed by former allies of Enron and energy traders who ripped off the state to gamble away California’s energy future on the revival of a plan for a Western regional power trading system that will benefit billionaires and Wall Street and put ratepayers and the environment at risk, Consumer Watchdog finds in a new report.

Not Every Angeleno Prospers In The Oil Economy

“Not every Angeleno is going to prosper in the ‘Next-Gen new economy,’” according to a recent newspaper ad by the State Building & Construction Trades. The union wants politicians not to “be bullied into supporting job killing regulations that are designed to shutter yet another Southern California industry.” This one being the oil and gas industry.

Consumer Watchdog Urges Gov. Brown To Halt All CA Offshore Drilling In Response To Trump Move To Open Federal Waters

Santa Monica, CA — Governor Jerry Brown should immediately stop all offshore drilling in state waters in response to President Trump’s decision to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic, including in federal waters off of California, Consumer Watchdog said today.

New "The Twelve Days of Jerry" Christmas Song and Animation Show Jerry Brown’s Big Polluting Gifts To Dirty Energy Industry

Santa Monica, CA—As Sempra’s Aliso Canyon natural gas reserve sprang another leak this week, reigniting nosebleeds and headaches among nearby LA County residents, Consumer Watchdog released an animation featuring Governor Jerry Brown and an updated "Twelve Days of Christmas" song highlighting his support for fossil fuels and dirty energy policies.    

Public Interest Groups Urge CA Senate To Deny Gov's Point Man Confirmation To PUC After He Fired Tough Oil Well Safety Regulators & Weakened Safety Rules

Sacramento, CA --  Public interest groups are urging the California Senate Rules Committee to demand answers about oil and gas well safety breaches from Governor Brown’s top oil and gas aide and to not confirm him to the Public Utilities Commission without them.

Governor’s Sister Kathleen Brown Makes More Than $1 Million Dollars From Sempra Board Work, And Stands To Make More, As Regulators Favor Company And Resume Injections At Aliso Canyon Gas Reserve

Santa Monica, CA -- Sempra shareholders have profited wildly from the favorable decisions taken by Jerry Brown’s appointees since the Governor was elected, and his sister Kathleen Brown, a Sempra board member, has made more than $1 million in cash and stock since joining the board four years ago, Consumer Watchdog said today in a new report.

Governor Jerry Brown Betrays Californians with Massive Giveaway to Oil Industry in Proposed Extension of Cap-and-Trade

Sacramento, CA — Consumer Watchdog and Food & Water Watch oppose Assembly Bill 398, brokered by Governor Jerry Brown to extend California’s cap-and-trade program past 2020, as a massive giveaway of billions of dollars to the oil and gas industry that fails to rein in one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in California. The organizations are calling on state legislators to defeat the bill, which could be called for a vote on Thursday.

Consumer Watchdog Calls Location of Governor Brown’s Climate Action Summit Misguided

Santa Monica, CA—As Governor Brown challenges the Trump administration today on climate change by issuing a sweeping invitation to a global “climate action” summit in San Francisco, Consumer Watchdog is challenging the Governor to hold the summit in Northern California’s Richmond or in Southern California cities like Wilmington or Torrance—home to emissions-spewing refineries.

Fossil Fuel Electric Plant Developers Fund Brown’s Beijing Fling

Santa Monica, CA — Consumer Watchdog today called on the Public Utilities Commission to require disclosure of any communications about new, unnecessary natural gas-fired power plants in Southern California made during Governor Jerry Brown’s recent trip to Beijing to tout clean energy. The trip, during which energy company executives had intimate access to the governor and energy regulators, shows the need for greater transparency around power plant decision-making.