SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA (AP) – California’s new law banning new oil and gas wells near homes, schools and other community sites has been put on hold until after voters decide next year whether to throw it out, officials announced.
Opponents of Senate Bill 1137 gathered over 623,000 valid voter signatures to put a referendum on the November 5, 2024, general election ballot, California Secretary of State Shirley N Weber announced.
The challenge means the law, which took effect in January, will be on hold until after voters decide. The bill, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom last September, bans new wells within 975 metres of locations including schools, homes, day care and healthcare centres, parks, jails and businesses open to the public.
It was celebrated by environmental justice advocates who had been pushing for the regulation for years.
But days after, Nielsen Merksamer, a law firm that specialises in ballot measures, filed a referendum to overturn SB 1137 on behalf California Independent Petroleum Association board member Jerome Reedy.