Gov. Newsom Signs Far-Ranging Package Of Climate Bills

California Gov. Gavin Newsom put his signature on a sweeping package of climate bills that push the state further to rely on clean energy and reduce carbon emissions.

The Democrat expanded the state’s aggressive swing away from traditional energy sources and set 2045 as the target date to be carbon neutral — removing as much carbon from the Earth’s atmosphere as it emits.

The Associated Press reports that the bills address “reducing exposure to gas and oil pollution in communities of color,” growing clean energy jobs and speeding the state’s shift towards getting most of its electricity from renewable sources.

This followed the announcement last month that California will ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting in 2035.

In a press release, Newsom referred to this month’s heat wave that swept the West as a wake-up call for acting on climate change. He declared that the state is taking the “most aggressive action on climate our nation has ever seen.”

In a public appearance flanked by supporters and standing under solar panels, the governor said the state had the choice of either protesting the way things are or changing the way things are.

Among the provisions to protect “vulnerable” communities are bans on new oil and gas wells within 3,200 feet of homes, schools, and other sites. The law requires wells in neighborhood zones, which are common in many areas, to adhere to stricter safety measures.

The package of bills was not without its critics. The oil industry lambasted the measures in the seventh-largest oil producing state as destined to cost thousands of jobs.

And on the environmentalist side, some are not happy that a permitting system is created to allow carbon capture projects to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it underground.

Some environmental advocates call the storage dangerous, unproven, and an avenue that will allow energy companies to continue polluting. Food and Water Watch California Director Chirag G. Bhakta said in a statement that it is a “smokescreen” for the fossil fuel industry to protect their profits.