We have less than two weeks to submit public comments opposing Governor Jerry Brown’s dangerous fracking regulations that pose a serious risk to human health, fish, wildlife, rivers and the ocean by encouraging a massive expansion of this toxic, environmentally destructive practice in California. It is essential that you submit a public comment now telling Governor Brown to ban fracking.
The regulations result from the Governor’s signing of Senator Fran Pavley’s “green light to fracking” bill, Senate Bill 4, onSeptember 20. The already weak legislation was eviscerated with amendments introduced by the Western States Petroleum Association and other oil industry lobbyists just before the bill passed through the Legislature.
The oil industry is the most powerful corporate lobby in Sacramento. A report recently released by the American Lung Association revealed that the oil industry lobby spent $45.4 million in the state between January 1 2009 and June 30, 2013. The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) alone has spent over $20 million since 2009 to lobby legislators.
Zack Malitz, Campaign Manager CREDO Action from Working Assets, reported, “2013 was California’s driest year in recorded history. But the devastating drought isn’t stopping Governor Brown from signing off on a massive expansion of water-intensive fracking, which not only permanently contaminates vast quantities of water but also fuels climate-change-driven extreme drought.”
“Governor Brown’s administration recently proposed regulations that, far from protecting California from toxic fracking, give it an official stamp of approval,” said Malitz. “The state is accepting public comments on the regulations for just under two more weeks, which gives us a crucial opportunity to demonstrate the depth and intensity of public opposition to fracking by flooding the state with tens of thousands of public comments condemning this dangerous proposal — and, hopefully, pressure Governor Brown to change course.”
Malitz 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.
“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.”
Governor Brown has called climate change “the world’s greatest existential challenge,” repeatedly stated his commitment to reducing carbon pollution from fossil fuels, and fought for renewable energy, according to Malitz.
“But Governor Brown can’t have it both ways: No real climate leader would frack California. Fossil fuel companies already have proven reserves of oil, gas and coal far greater than what we can burn without hurtling over the climate cliff, so there’s just no excuse to extract even more oil with fracking,” stated Malitz.
Activists across the state are organizing to ban fracking in their cities and counties, to pressure their state legislators into standing up for a statewide ban on fracking, and to confront Governor Brown wherever he makes a public appearance. “This public comment period gives us a chance to come together to speak out against fracking and call on Governor Brown to protect our state from this irredeemably toxic industry,” Malitz concluded.
Public Hearings Scheduled Throughout State
Comments regarding the proposed regulations will also be taken at five public hearings around the state. It is important that we get a large showing to these hearings to show massive opposition to the environmentally destructive practice of fracking. The schedule for the hearings is as follows:
Sacramento — January 6, Sierra Room, California Environmental Protection Agency Building, 10th & I streets, 3-7 p.m.
Long Beach — January 6, California State University-Long Beach auditorium, 1212 Bellflower Boulevard, 3-7 p.m.
Bakersfield — January 8, Kern County Administrative Center, first floor board chambers, 1115 Truxtun Avenue, 3-7 p.m.
Salinas — January 8, National Steinbeck Center, One Main Street, 3-7 p.m.
Santa Maria — January 13, Santa Barbara County supervisors hearing room, 511 East Lakeside Parkway, 3-7 p.m.
You can be sure that these draft regulations won’t protect the land, water, fish, wildlife and people of California from the expansion of fracking when a big oil lobbyist praises them.
Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create alleged “marine protected areas” in Southern California, said she was “pleased” that the Department of Conservation and the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources have been able to “promptly release” draft hydraulic fracturing regulations.
“Governor Brown signed SB 4 less than two months ago, and the state has worked expeditiously to implement this new comprehensive law,” gushed Reheis-Boyd. “These regulations are extensive but strike the right balance that will result in an environmental platform which will ensure that the potential energy resources contained in the Monterey Shale formation can be responsibly developed.”
“This September, California adopted the nation’s strictest regulations for the oil extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing,” Reheis-Boyd claimed. “The landmark bill, SB 4, was authored by one of our state’s preeminent environmental leaders, Senator Fran Pavley, and signed by Jerry Brown, one of the nation’s greenest governors.”
Background on Senate Bill 4, Fracking:
The Center for Biological Diversity said the draft regulations created under Senate Bill 4 fall “far short” of protecting California’s air, water, communities and climate from fracking, a dangerously polluting practice that involves blasting chemical-laden water into the earth to fracture rock formations.
“Gov. Brown’s fracking regulations would leave California’s environment and public health horribly exposed to fracking pollution,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity. “These rules mostly take the narrowest, most oil industry-friendly approach to fracking that’s possible under state law. They will permit fracking to spread across the state, endangering our air, water, communities and climate. The only safe way forward for California is a halt to this inherently dangerous process.”
The pollution resulting from fracking threatens already contaminated groundwater and surface water supplies in the Central Valley and coastal areas – and much of the water to be used to expand fracking is expected to come from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta via the proposed twin tunnels.
Caleen Sisk, Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, a key leader in the fight to stop the raising of Shasta Dam and the construction of the peripheral tunnels and to restore winter run Chinook salmon to the McCloud River above Shasta Dam, urges people to support a ban on fracking in California.
“California’s new draft fracking rules Are BAD,” she said. “Tell Governor Brown that weak regulations won’t cut it. We need a ban!”
“Regulations don’t make fracking any safer – no water for fracking at the expense of the Tribal ceremonies and salmon habitat,” Sisk stated.
Sisk, Food and Water Watch, CREDO Action and anti-fracking activists are urging people to submit public comments on the draft rules and show up at the public hearings.