A groundbreaking April 2020 report from UC Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment comes at a unique moment in the history of in-state oil and gas production. Legal Grounds: Law and Policy Options to Facilitate a Phase-Out of Fossil Fuel Production in California has been released exactly when the industry is struggling economically due to a global collapse in oil prices and a decrease in demand from COVID-19-related shutdowns. As sheltering Americans are temporarily buying less gas and some drilling companies are approaching or entering bankruptcy with record-low oil prices, an intelligently structured phase-out could result in less harm to jobs and local economies. California’s actions could well demonstrate to other states and countries how to successfully sunset their fossil fuel production.
The Center for Law, Energy and the Environment hopes its report will assist state leaders to address these challenges and chart a new course for California’s in-state fossil fuel production.
Here are some of the topics it covers: The state of production in California; oil and gas drilling and permitting basics—local and state-level processes; the state of production in California; law and policy options to facilitate a phase-out: severance tax; drilling authorization and denial; setback requirements; California Air Resources Board options; CEQA processes; and the potential model of SB4. Useful appendixes include Los Angeles County Oil and Gas Strike Team Zoning Code Recommendations; Select Review of Taxation, Permitting and Setback Policies; and a List of Potential New Rules and Practices of Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Under SB 19-181.