California Agency Looks to Increase Drilling Setbacks to 3,200 Feet

In the past year, Culver City and the County of Los Angeles have both passed laws prioritizing public health over oil extraction policies, and now the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) has issued a draft health and safety rule requiring that newly constructed oil and gas extraction sites must be at least 3,200 feet from California homes, schools, and other public spaces.

This draft rule is the first of its kind and the longest statewide setback distance in the nation.

The draft health and safety rule is the result of many years of hard work by environmental justice leaders pushing state government officials and CalGEM to establish stronger legal protections against oil and gas drilling.

While Culver City proposed 1500 foot setbacks as a protection for residents living in proximity to oil production, this state ruling would more than double that distance. The 3,200 feet setback distance for new oil and gas sites could also be applied to existing oil and gas wells and facilities. 

CalGEM will be soliciting feedback from Californians on the draft rule through December 21. Public comments can be made at conservation.cagov/calgem/documents/publichealth

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