SACRAMENTO — In a victory for critics of California’s oil drilling industry, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday stopped the approval of new hydraulic fracturing in the state until the permits for those projects can be reviewed by an independent panel of scientists. Newsom also imposed a moratorium on new permits for steam-injected oil drilling, another extraction method opposed by environmentalists that was linked to a massive petroleum spill in Kern County over the summer. “These are necessary steps to strengthen oversight of oil and gas extraction as we phase out our dependence on fossil fuels and focus on clean energy sources,” Newsom said in a statement Tuesday morning. “This transition cannot happen overnight; it must advance in a deliberate way to protect people, our environment, and our economy.” Along with halting use of the oil extraction methods, the Newsom administration plans to study the possible adoption of buffer zones around oil wells in or near residential neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and other facilities that could be exposed to hazardous fumes. The actions come just weeks after Newsom signed a bill into law revising the primary mission of a state agency that regulates the oil industry, now called the Geologic Energy […]

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