Calif. governor signs 40 climate-related measures

By Anne C. Mulkern | 09/16/2022 04:10 PM EDT

The bills Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Friday will mandate buffers between new oil wells and homes, set a carbon neutrality target and invest in new research, among other measures.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaking into microphones at a lectern outside.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed 40 climate-related measures Friday. He is pictured at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, Calif., on Aug.12. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed 40 climate-related measures, including one mandating a 3,200-foot buffer between new oil wells and homes.

Newsom (D) also signed bills requiring the state to hit carbon neutrality by 2045 and mandating research into carbon removal and carbon sequestration technologies.

Newsom, at a bill signing ceremony today, noted that the state had just gone through an extended heat wave that shattered 1,000 previous records. It’s among the reasons the climate bills are needed, he said.


“If you don’t believe in science, you have to believe your own eyes,” Newsom said in Vallejo, south of Napa. “If you don’t believe in global warming, maybe you now believe in global heating. I mean, the hots are just so much hotter. The dries are so much drier, extreme weather, extreme drought, extreme floods.”

S.B. 1137, the bill requiring the 3,200-foot distance between new oil wells and homes, parks, schools and other locations, was a major priority for advocates representing low-income residents and communities of color.

As the state moves toward a fossil fuel-free future, state Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D) said at the event, “it is important and it’s imperative that these communities know, Latino, black, Indigenous, other people of color, that they know that their front-line communities will no longer be subjected to injustice, environmental injustice.”

A trade group representing oil drillers has said that the measure won’t result in lower greenhouse gas emissions. That’s because California will just import more oil from foreign countries, said Rock Zierman, chief executive of the California Independent Petroleum Association.

Measures signed also included S.B. 1020, which sets new benchmarks in the state’s quest for a 100 percent green grid by 2045.

The grid now must achieve targets of 90 percent clean by 2035 and 95 percent by 2040.

Newsom signed A.B. 1279, mandating carbon neutrality by 2045. That goal was included in an executive order signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in 2018. But legislation passed by the Legislature and signed by a governor is stronger legally than an executive order, legal experts said.

Other bills signed include one expediting permitting for solar developments, one requiring record-keeping on the reliability of electric vehicle charging stations, one allowing people who live in apartments to invest in solar projects, and one barring enhanced oil recovery at wells where carbon sequestration is employed.