Yesterday, Senators Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) introduced Senate Bill 1132 to the California Legislature, which calls for a moratorium on fracking and other types of unconventional well stimulation (like acidizing).
Current law (SB4) requires an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) but there are at least two problems with it:
- Fracking and acidizing is allowed to continue while regulators conduct the EIR—essentially treating Californians’ water and health as fracking guinea pigs
- The current EIR doesn’t assess the full range of impacts of fracking/acidizing.
SB 1132 fixes both of these issues. It expands the scope of the current EIR to include economic impacts, effects on private property and land use, as well as the risks to workers laboring in state’s oil fields. And, perhaps even more importantly, it places a moratorium on fracking/acidizing until the EIR is complete and the review demonstrates that it can be done safely.
We are skeptical that fracking/acidizing can be done safely. A growing body of research has linked fracking to increased air pollution, water contamination, negative effects on public health and induced seismicity. The current drought shows how much our economy is dependent on a stable global climate.
Neither California nor the rest of the world can afford the greenhouse gas emissions that would come from expanding our in-state oil industry.
Fracking and well stimulation permanently pollute millions of gallons of water annually. Thousands of acres of land are laying fallow in the San Joaquin Valley, while cattle ranchers are being forced to sell their stocks. Why should agricultural and urban users struggle to secure water while oil and gas companies are allowed to frack with it?
Californians value a clean environment and healthy communities. But California’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources cannot currently protect us from the impacts of fracking. If it could, the EIR wouldn’t be necessary. From earthquakes, to air pollution, to water pollution, the oil companies' answer to public concerns has been, 'trust us.' Well, we don't trust them. That's why we need the moratorium and expanded EIR provided by SB1132.
We commend Senators Mitchell and Leno for their efforts, and call on all legislators to support SB1132. Let’s put people ahead of oil companies’ profits.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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