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Newsom is off to a quick start, at least. The governor simultaneously ordered California’s Department of Conservation to stop issuing new fracking permits by January 2024.
The move makes California the first state to commit to ending oil extraction. While 2045 is a long way off, this still represents a bet that clean energy and transportation will grow to the point where oil simply won’t matter to the local economy.
Whether or not other states follow suit is another matter. California was the seventh-largest producer of crude oil in the US in 2020, producing 145 million barrels, but it paled in comparison to heavyweights like Texas (1.8 billion), North Dakota (431 million) and New Mexico (379 million). Other states might be reluctant to end oil extraction if it delivers too much of a financial blow. While the plans are ultimately be good news for the environment, their symbolic effect may outweigh the practical impact.
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