FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 26, 2015
CONTACT: Juan Gastelum at (520) 313-4921, firstname.lastname@example.org
With two days left for Gov. Brown to respond to legal petition calling for an emergency moratorium on fracking, Californians call for urgent action to protect water, health
SACRAMENTO — After California officials admitted they allowed the oil industry to illegally inject wastewater from hundreds of disposal wells into clean drinking water, and state regulators conceded “we all fell down” at a Senate Oversight hearing earlier this month, more than 65,000 people from across the state renewed the call to ban fracking in California.
At the Capitol today, Californians Against Fracking and other environmental and community groups delivered the petitions to Gov. Brown, along with photos of people living in communities impacted by fracking practices. The petitions were collected by CREDO, Courage Campaign, the Center for Biological Diversity, Food and Water Watch, and others. A photo blog documenting the delivery is posted at: http://californiansagainstfracking.org/emergency-petition-ban-fracking-california-reach-governor-brown-thursday/
Earlier this month 150 environmental, health and community groups filed a legal petition calling on Gov. Brown to use his emergency powers to halt fracking and other well stimulation techniques in the state. As the deadline for a response draws near, support for a moratorium on fracking continues to grow.
“Gov. Brown is allowing the oil industry to run rough shod over California residents and is giving state agencies entrusted with our health and safety a free pass to continue their head-in-the-sand approach to regulation,” said Ash Lauth of the Center for Biological Diversity. “At the Capitol today, we are calling on Gov. Brown to face his constituents and the communities across the state calling for urgent action to halt fracking and protect our water and health.”
The legal petition, which was first delivered on Feb. 26, was submitted under the state Administrative Procedure Act. Under California law, the governor is required to respond within 30 days, which expires in two days.
In the legal petition, the groups pointed to tests showing dangerously high levels of cancer-causing benzene in fracking flowback fluid, which is often dumped into California injection wells or left to evaporate in unlined pits near agricultural fields in the Central Valley.
In recent weeks, the magnitude of the emergency has become clearer. California state officials admitted that hundreds of disposal wells are illegally injecting oil industry waste water into scores of protected aquifers, including some with water clean enough for drinking and irrigation. That means California’s water is being contaminated in the midst of one of the worst droughts on record. The oil industry is also operating hundreds of illegal wastewater disposal pits that pose water and air-pollution risks.
The legal petition and growing calls across the state for urgent action and federal intervention come on the heels of the largest anti-fracking rally in history, when 8,000 protesters gathered in Oakland last month.
Signatories to the legal petition included: Breast Cancer Action; the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment; Greenpeace; 350.org; Physicians for Social Responsibility-San Francisco; California Environmental Justice Alliance; Earthworks; CREDO; Public Citizen; Alliance of Nurses for a Healthy Environment; and the Center for Environmental Health.
Numerous scientific studies have linked fracking and other unconventional extraction methods to environmental damage and health problems, including cancer, birth defects and other serious illnesses. The state of New York recently banned fracking after an exhaustive review by the state health department found that the method poses unacceptable risks to the environment and human health.
Californians Against Fracking is a coalition of about 200 environmental business, health, agriculture, labor, political and environmental justice organizations working to win a statewide ban on fracking and other dangerous extraction techniques in California. Follow @CAagainstFrack on Twitter.