Part of the Bay Area News Group

Fracking battle heats up for session’s final weeks

By Josh Richman
Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 at 3:35 pm in Assembly, California State Senate, energy, Environment, Jerry Brown.

The debate over fracking is reaching a fever pitch in Sacramento, as activists urge a moratorium in the final weeks of this legislative session.

A coalition of more than 100 environmental, health and liberal groups on Wednesday released an open letter urging Gov. Jerry Brown to impose such a ban and blasting SB 4, a pending bill that would allow some fracking to go forward.

“This is a do-or-die moment in the fight against fracking in California,” CREDO political director Becky Bond said in a conference call with reporters, adding that although state Sen. Fran Pavley – SB 4’s author – has been a reliable ally to environmentalists in the past, “it’s appalling that this bill is the best the Legislature has to offer Californians.”

“We know that there’s no safe way to frack,” she said. “Anything less than a moratorium is reckless and unacceptable.”

But the only moratorium bill that has made it to a floor vote this year – AB 1323 by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, D-Culver City – was defeated in a 24-37 Assembly vote in May.

California must act now, Pavley said by email later Wednesday.

“Companies are fracking and acidizing wells in California now, and we can’t afford to wait for another attempt at a moratorium to take action,” she said. “Strict regulations are our best tool right now to protect the public and the environment and hold the industry and regulators accountable.”

Pavley’s bill would establish a regulatory program for hydraulic fracturing and acid-injection methods of extracting oil and gas, including a study, development of regulations, a permitting process, and public notification and disclosure.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Yet opponents say SB 4 “does nothing to make fracking any less dangerous,” per Adam Scow, California campaigns director for Food & Water Watch.

Victoria Kaplan, a campaign director with MoveOn.org, told reporters that public opinion against fracking is building steadily in California. “The more people learn about fracking, the more they hate it – that’s what we’re seeing this summer.”

Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, said fracking not only “endangers the air we breathe and the water we drink,” but also would set back California’s efforts to roll back climate change. Not only does the fracking process release methane – a potent greenhouse gas – but burning the oil that it produces from the Monterey Shale will generate more than 6.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide, she said.

SB 4 is now pending in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Activists plan to deliver more than 9,000 petition signatures Thursday to committee chairman Mike Gatto’s and Assembly Speaker John Pérez‘s offices, urging them to add an immediate moratorium on fracking to SB 4.

This is only the latest such petition: MoveOn.org says more than 120,000 people have signed various petitions to ban fracking in California.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • RR Senile Columnist

    To all the paleolithic thinkers out there who want to beg Iran and Saudi Arabia for energy supplies into the next century: frack you!

  • GV Haste

    “We know that there’s no safe way to frack,” she said. “Anything less than a moratorium is reckless and unacceptable.”

    Its not about fracking, its about religion for these folks.
    Its about forcing the rest of Californians to stop using any fuels that put global warming gases into the air.
    Fracking is just the latest target of these extreme groups.

    They don’t even want natural gas from out of state to be used to generate power.
    They don’t want nuclear power either.

    To them its all about wind and solar.
    Yes, they plan to run everyone’s house and car on wind and solar.
    They’ll tell you if you just take 10 miles by 10 miles in the Arizona desert, you can power the entire nation.
    Or is it 100 miles by 100 miles?

    Either way, they claim they have the math all worked out and all we need to do is string a few more wires.

    In the mean time we can launch a few more wars in the Middle East to keep the “imported” oil coming so that we can drive to work over the next 20 years.

  • Elwood

    Is there any freak organization which has not signed on to the anti-fracking campaign?

    Apparently the anti-fracking campaign is the new freak religion, replacing global warming where stupid uninformed temperatures have been embarrassingly falling for the last 20 years or so.

  • Pingback: Dianne Feinstein supports fracking regulation bill - Political Blotter - Politics in the Bay Area and beyond

  • Pingback: Rhetoric vs Reality — Should Fracking be allowed in the Delaware River Basin? | 悦人,悦己