Interior Department moves to open large swaths of California to fracking

Credit: Gary Kavanagh/iStock

The U.S. Department of the Interior is moving forward with plans to open up roughly 1.7 million acres in Central and Southern California to fracking and other types of oil production. The agency released environmental impact statements on the plans, a major step toward ending de facto court-ordered moratoriums on new federal oil and gas leases. But the dangers of fracking haven’t changed: The drilling process blasts water, chemicals, and sand at high pressures into the ground to crack open rock and release oil and gas. Fracking in California often occurs at shallower depths and in closer proximity to drinking water sources, increasing the risk of water contamination. Fracking also emits planet-warming methane and other harmful pollutants. In all, this would be a big step backward for a state otherwise making big strides on climate. 

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