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Fracking Protest Targets Federal Auction of California Public Land
Dozens of protesters in hazmat suits carrying barrels labeled “Warning: Toxic Fracking Fluid” rallied outside a federal auction this morning against plans to lease more than 17,000 acres of California public land to oil companies for drilling and fracking. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auction would open public land in three counties—Monterey, San Benito and Fresno—for oil drilling and fracking. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a highly polluting form of oil and gas extraction. Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) has urged the BLM to delay the auction over fracking concerns.
“A fracking boom will devastate California’s beautiful public wildlands,” said Rose Braz, climate campaign director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The federal government should protect these beautiful public places, not sell them off to be drilled and fracked, risking irreparable harm to our air, water and climate.”
“Opening up thousands of acres of public land to oil and gas exploration would directly undercut our state's commitment to clean and renewable energy and endanger our already threatened water supply,” said Andrew Grinberg, program organizer at Clean Water Action. “We need to slow down and assess the long-term impacts of increased drilling, fracking and other enhanced oil and gas recovery processes on California's communities, environment and health, and the BLM should do its part by withholding these leases."
Ahead of the auction, Congressman Farr urged the BLM to delay the auction until it can “ensure adequate safeguards” and address concerns raised by Monterey County.
Fracking is a highly polluting form of oil and gas extraction that involves blasting huge volumes of water mixed with toxic chemicals and sand deep into the earth to break up rock formations. Fracking has been tied to air and water pollution; it threatens the climate by emitting large amounts of methane and opening up new oil deposits. About 25 percent of fracking chemicals could cause cancer, scientists say.
Recent advances in fracking are driving growing interest in California’s Monterey Shale, a geological formation holding the largest shale oil deposit in America. This formation, which underlies the BLM leases, includes some of the country’s most productive farmland and important wildlife habitat.
Area farmers are concerned, said Paula Getzelman, president of the Southern Monterey County Rural Coalition and owner of Tre Gatti Vineyards in Lockwood, only 4.5 miles from one of the parcels being auctioned off.
“Many of us here in the San Antonio Valley understand the potential seriousness of unregulated fracking activities, especially where it concerns the quality and quantity of water,” Getzelman said. “Agriculture depends on a consistent supply of untainted water, ranchers depend on water for their animals and homeowners depend on clean, sweet water for activities of daily living.”
About 25 percent of fracking chemicals could cause cancer, while many others harm the nervous, endocrine, immune and cardiovascular systems, according to scientists. A recent study from the Colorado School of Public Health found that fracking contributes to serious health problems in people living near fracked wells.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
Click here to sign a petition to tell the Bureau of Land Management to issue strong rules for federal fracking leases on public lands.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."