Activists plan anti-fracking day of action

Opponents of using hydraulic fracturing – “fracking” – to access hard-to-reach oil and natural gas are planning actions Thursday at assemblymembers’ offices around California.

Activists organized by MoveOn.org will deliver petitions in 13 Assembly districts, marking the launch of Californians Against Fracking, a coalition of 70 organizations advocating for a ban.

“The gutting of Holly Mitchell’s fracking moratorium bill [AB 1323] and the blocking of Richard Bloom’s bill [AB 1301] by Assembly leadership ignores the will of the voters of California who have made their voices heard with thousands of phone calls and petition signatures. What we demand is a ban on fracking to protect our health,” said Aura Walker, a Culver City mother, whose petition on MoveOn.org’s petition platform has been signed by more than 35,000 people. “California is already earthquake prone. Additionally, poisonous gases will permanently pollute many precious aquifers, irreversibly poisoning our drinking water.”

In the South Bay, activist Ann Benson of Portola Valley will lead the delivery of a local petition at noon to the Los Altos office of Assemblyman Richard Gordon, urging him to support a fracking ban. At the same time, Dorothy Hann of San Ramon will lead the delivery of a similar petition to Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan in San Ramon.

And the nascent Californians Against Fracking group plans a noon rally outside the state office building at 455 Golden Gate Ave. in San Francisco, as well as one at the same time in Los Angeles. Both will be delivering petitions to Gov. Jerry Brown’s offices.

Environmentalists have taken Brown to task after the governor in March said California should examine fracking to capitalize on the Monterey shale deposit, which the U.S. Energy Department has estimated could hold up to 15 billion barrels of oil — about 64 percent of the nation’s shale oil resources. As some legislative Democrats sought bans, Brown had said the technology shouldn’t be rejected out of hand.

“We want to get the greenhouse gas emissions down, but we also want to keep our economy going. That’s the balance that’s required,” he said at the time. “The fossil fuel deposits in California are incredible; the potential is extraordinary. But between now and development lies a lot of questions that need to be answered.”

UPDATE @ 5:07 P.M.: The California State Senate voted 27-11 this afternoon to pass SB 4 by state Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Calabasas, which would require public noticing before fracking can take place, permits, disclosure of chemicals and an independent scientific study of fracking and its risks to California, among other provisions. “I am pleased my colleagues want to hold oil well operators accountable and answer critical questions about groundwater quality, water supply, earthquakes and air quality,” Pavley said in a news release. “We must protect California from risks to our economy, public health and safety and environment.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Oh, no, not a petition!

    The horror!

    Haven’t those been banned by the UN?

  • RR senile columnist

    Activists Against Everything are a thoughtful bunch of learning- disabled, alcoholic deviants who used to play college basketball. That is what coach Hermann allegedly said before her Rutgers appt. Seriously, who gives a flyin crap about every phony group MoveOn.orgy dreams up.

  • GV Haste

    Got to love the Aura Walker, the leader of this petition drive…

    “What we demand is a ban on fracking to protect our health,” said Aura Walker, a Culver City mother, whose petition on MoveOn.org’s petition platform has been signed by more than 35,000 people”

    Aura Walker

    Nuggets from her Facebook page

    –April 14th, 2013 “The Mayan prophecy includes a belief that in 2013 the world has entered an accelerated time. There is a huge power struggle between light and dark. There is a huge power struggle over natural resources and controlling people.”

    –May 21st, 2013 “I have a Masters Degree in Transpersonal Counseling, Psychology, and Art Therapy. I have a Post Graduate Certification in Clinical Hypnosis.

    — May 22nd 2013 ”
    “Past lives? I am trained to do past life regression. I have witnessed and seen some amazing changes in people’s faces during sessions.

    The jury is out. It is up to each person to decide whether they believe in past lives or not. What is most important is how does that translate to have meaning in the here and now. That reminds me, I need to pay some bills and get ready for my new clients!”

  • RR senile columnist

    Thanks for the link, GV. This weirdo could exist few places other than Los Angeles.

  • JohnW

    I’m all for fracking. Just not in my back yard.