On July 8, 2021, the California Department of Conservation, Geologic Energy Management Division (“CalGEM”) (formerly known as DOGGR), issued two separate letters denying a total of twenty-one Well Stimulation Treatment (“WST”) permit applications. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” is a type of WST. All twenty-one denied WST permits applications were submitted by Aera Energy, LLC, and pertained to wells located in Central California, west of Bakersfield, as identified in each denial letter.

CalGEM stated it denied the permit requests pursuant to California Public Resources Code Sections 3106(a) and 3011(a), which require the State to oversee oil and gas drilling operations and prevent damage to life, health, safety, property, natural resources, and environmental quality. CalGEM’s denial comes just months after California Governor Newsom issued an executive order requiring CalGEM to initiate rulemaking to end the issuance of new fracking permits by 2024. As reported by The Bakersfield Californian, California Governor Newsom’s spokeswoman, Erin Mellon, issued the following statement regarding the permit denials:

“The governor has been clear that we need to do more to combat the climate crisis and create a healthier future. He has also been clear that he does not see a role for fracking in that future. In April, the Governor directed CalGEM to prepare a regulations to ban new fracking permits by 2024. And the need for change is only more urgent as California is now experiencing accelerated impacts of climate change, from drought to extreme heat events to larger and more intense wildfires.

“The Governor applauds (Thursday’s) action by the State Oil and Gas Supervisor to use his discretion under statute to deny 21 pending fracking permits, which will protect public health and safety and environmental quality and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. This is one of many actions the Administration is taking to reduce and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and respond to the climate emergency.”

Copies of the two CalGEM letters denying the twenty-one WST permit applications can be accessed here and here.

The Bakersfield Californian’s article containing California Governor Newsom’s spokeswoman’s comments can be accessed here.