California Legislators Call for Fracking Moratorium
By Dan Bacher
On January 7 nine California legislators sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown asking that he issue an executive order to prohibit the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) within the Department of Conservation from allowing fracking in the state until health and environmental concerns are addressed.
Legislators signing the letter include Marc Levine, Assemblymember, 10th Assembly District; Das Williams, Assemblymember, 37th Assembly District; Adrin Nazarian, Assemblymember, 46th Assembly District; Richard Bloom, Assemblymember, 50th Assembly District; Loni Hancock, State Senator, 9th Senate District; Bonnie Lowenthall, Assemblymember, 70th Assembly District; Noreen Evans, State Senator, 2nd Senate District; Phil Ting, Assemblymember, 19th Assembly District; and Lois Wolk, State Senator, 3rd Senate District;
A large crowd was in attendance at the Cal EPA building on January 6, 2014.
"The vast public health and safety implications of fracking, as well as the tremendous public concern over this practice, require our collective and urgent action," they wrote. "We believe it is time to join with Californians who disapprove of the dangers fracking poses to their communities."
The legislators noted that they joined CREDO Action in calling for this moratorium - and attached to their letter a petition on this issue circulated by CREDO Action and signed by thousands of Californians.
"As you know, California values protecting our environment and public health and safety," they said. "Current studies show fracking threatens California’s precious water supply, further disrupts our approach to mitigate the dangerous impacts of climate change, exacerbates our air pollution problems, and the disposal of wastewater associated with fracking may increase seismic activity."
"Therefore, we respectfully request that you impose a moratorium on fracking while you fully investigate the science behind fracking for oil production," they concluded.
The 60-day public comment period for the proposed regulations for "well stimulation treatment" for oil and gas production authorized by Senator Fran Pavley's Senate Bill 4 began on November 15 and will end on January 15. The California Department of Conservation (DOC) said there will likely be an additional 45-day public comment period later in 2014.
Zack Malitz, Campaign Manager of CREDO Action from Working Assets, said the most important flaw in Governor Brown's fracking regulations is that they allow fracking, as well as other dangerous oil-extraction techniques like acidizing, in which huge quantities of acid are injected underground. The regulations provide the green light to the expansion of fracking and acidizing in California.
"There are no regulations that can make fracking safe," emphasized Malitz. "However it's regulated, fracking contaminates water, produces toxic air pollution, creates dangerous wastewater, industrializes communities, and accelerates climate change by allowing the fossil fuel industry to burn and extract otherwise inaccessible oil and gas."
On Monday, so many people showed up to attend the public comment hearing on draft fracking regulations in Sacramento that state officials had to find a larger room in the EPA building to accomodate the crowd.
Over 80 percent of the people that attended, including representatives of the Sierra Club, Food and Water Watch, Center for Biological Diversity and other organizations, supported a moratorium or ban on the controversial oil extraction process. Representatives of the Western States Petroleum Association and other oil industry organizations praised the regulations for being the "strongest" and "strictest" fracking regulations in the nation.
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This article was originally published at DailyKos.