Today, as the public comment period on fracking regulations ends, a broad and united coalition of 50 environmental, public health and social justice groups representing more than 2 million Californians just sent one unified comment, in the form of a letter, to Governor Brown asking him to place an immediate moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and other well stimulation activities. This letter can be viewed here. As we said back in July and have been saying for more than a year and a half now, California needs a time-out on fracking to allow the state the time it needs to thoroughly assess the health risks and environmental impacts, as well as how to protect against them.
This letter follows on the heels of letters from twenty leading scientists, twenty-seven of Brown’s former advisors, more than 100 chefs and others in the restaurant industry, and nine concerned legislators who are calling on Governor Brown to impose a moratorium on fracking in California.
I’ve blogged before about the long list of reasons why Californians should be concerned about fracking, and detailed reasons can be found in the public comment letter we submitted on the draft regulations today. Across the state, at hearings on the proposed regulations and the statewide environmental impact report (EIR) required by Senate Bill 4 (SB 4), in geographically and culturally diverse cities including Oakland, Sacramento, Long Beach, Salinas, Ventura, and Santa Maria, thousands of citizens echoed our coalition’s call, speaking out in passionate and undeniable support of a ban or moratorium on fracking.
While California has been at the forefront of environmental protection in many areas, on fracking the state is still way behind. We need to catch up to the other states that have taken action on fracking, like New York, where the Governor issued an executive order effectively halting fracking in order to give state regulators time to fully evaluate the risks to public health and the environment, in order to determine how to protect against them. Governor Brown should take similar action, and in doing so he would be listening to Californians, who have now made clear in two polls that a moratorium on fracking is needed now.
Governor Brown has the authority to make sure that Californians’ safety and public health come first. He can, and should, direct the state’s oil and gas agency, the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), to carry out its statutory duty to prevent oil and gas operations from harming human health, property, and natural resources. Until we have a better understanding of the risks of fracking and the climate impacts from developing the Monterey Shale, and until adequate safeguards are in place, to continue to allow fracking leaves the health of Californians and our precious natural resources unprotected. This is why Californians are speaking out now to urge the Governor to impose an immediate moratorium on fracking, acidizing and other forms of well stimulation.