California Governor Jerry Brown recently proposed the most ambitious renewable energy targets in the US, but that does not mitigate his support for the controversial high-intensity oil extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing (fracking), according to activists who have embarked on a statewide tour to call for the governor to ban the practice.
Organized by Californians Against Fracking—a coalition of environmental and environmental justice groups including 350.org, Food & Water Watch, and the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment—the “California Crossroads Tour” is aimed at not just ending dangerous oil extraction methods but is also calling on Governor Brown to go even further than he did with his recent proposal to change the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard from 33% by 2020 to 50% by 2030.
Instead, the activists want Brown to put policies in place that would end the Golden State’s addiction to fossil fuels once and for all.
“California is at a crossroads,” David Braun of Californians Against Fracking and an organizer of the tour said in a press release. “Our governor and our elected officials need to decide if we’re going to be a real leader on climate change, or if we will continue to allow fracking and other dangerous extractions methods that put our communities and environment at risk.”
Braun goes on to say that for many Californians, opposition to fracking comes down to the impacts they are suffering every day. “Californians around the state are affected by the oil industry in different ways—whether they are exposed to dangerous toxins from living near a drilling site, have potentially explosive trains rumbling through their neighborhoods carrying crude oil—but we all stand to lose if we continue to ignore warnings that spell out doom if we don’t put an end to the use of fossil fuels.”
The tour began in San Diego on Monday night and will hit 8 cities in 9 days, holding events at each stop that are, according to organizers, “designed as an opportunity for community members and experts to speak out against the negative health and environmental impacts of high-risk oil drilling, wastewater injection into deep disposal wells, and the prospect of a dramatic increase of oil by rail.”
The tour ends in Sacramento on January 20, where activists and California residents will deliver anti-fracking messages from communities across the state directly to Governor Brown.
Once the tour ends, however, the movement to ban fracking in California and move the state to 100% clean, renewable energy plans to keep on rolling.
A “March For Real Climate Leadership” is already planned for February 7 in Oakland, CA and is expected to bring thousands of Californians out into the streets to demand Governor Brown stand up to Big Oil and end fracking.
Image via Don’t Frack California
The anti-fracking movement in California is heating up as the state’s failure to protect residents from the impacts of oil and gas development are receiving increased scrutiny.
Last year, it was revealed that 9 different injection wells were illegally pumping fracking wastewater into aquifers protected under state and federal law, and a Clean Water Action report detailed the threat to California’s air and water from the open, unlined pits that are also used to store the oil industry’s toxic wastewater.
A study published by the Natural Resources Defense Council in October found that 5.4 million Californians live within a mile of an active oil or gas well, and 92% of them are people of color.
According to a FracTracker Alliance report released in November, there are 352,724 children in California who attend a school within one mile of an oil and gas well, including at least 217 wells using fracking, acidizing, and gravel packing as a stimulation technique.
Images via Californians Against Fracking except where noted