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UNITED STATES -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom is advancing plans to ban new hydraulic fracturing permits in his state and eventually end oil extraction altogether. His directives to state agencies have few practical impacts given that the state's upstream investment climate is already in decline, but they underscore how much the pendulum has shifted in favor of phasing out oil and natural gas (PIW Dec.18'20). Newsom has directed state regulators to end the issuance of new permits for hydraulic fracturing by January 2024. The governor's order refers to the industry's more precise definition of fracturing -- the practice of well stimulation -- rather than environmentalists' use of "fracking" as a catch-all term for most onshore upstream activity. Yet Newsom's order, if upheld by future California governors, would also move toward a complete phaseout of oil production that environmentalists have demanded. He has asked regulators to "analyze pathways to phase out oil extraction" across the state by 2045, but the language is vague. The order is a clear effort to cement California's leadership role in US climate action, and came near the end of President Joe Biden's climate leaders summit last week (PIW Apr.23'21).

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