May 21, 2014
Hon. Edmund G. Brown
Dear Gov. Brown:
We urge you to move quickly to halt fracking and other dangerous oil-recovery methods in California in the wake of today’s news that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will be reducing their estimate of the amount of recoverable oil in the Monterey Shale by 96 percent.
This bombshell from the EIA gives you a new opportunity to make the right call and halt fracking. Oil companies have been trying to hoodwink California’s elected officials into trading away our clean air and water for jobs and revenue projections based on shaky data and dangerous technologies. But now there’s no excuse for not seeing through the empty promises from this dirty industry.
Fracking and other forms of extreme oil extraction still threaten our state’s air, water, and climate. Even today, oil companies are fracking and acidizing wells near people’s homes in many communities. Fracking and other extreme oil-production methods in Los Angeles and Orange County have employed formaldehyde and other dangerous “air toxic” chemicals more than 4,000 times over the past 10 months, according to South Coast Air Quality Management District data.
The EIA’s massively revised estimate for what is currently recoverable is a perfect illustration of the dangerous uncertainty surrounding fracking for oil. On the other hand, what is clear is that fracking, acidizing and other oil extraction techniques are putting Californians at risk today. Communities urgently need protection from fracking and drilling and we are looking to you to provide leadership and relief to these communities.
People in Shafter and other Central Valley towns know the risks of extreme oil production all too well. Kern County has the largest number of wells in the state and the worst air pollution in the country. Community members have voiced grave concerns about the oil wells they see near elementary schools, churches, farms and homes. They’re disturbed to see friends and family members suffering from headaches, nosebleeds, and respiratory diseases associated with oil drilling and extraction.
Across the state, farmers, families and businesses are being asked to limit their water use as we deal with the worst drought in generations. Yet the oil industry is seeking to use more water to dig up oil that will continue to deepen the very climate crisis that is exacerbating our drought to begin with.
The oil industry may greet this news from the EIA with renewed determination to use new dirty technologies to find a way to dig up the oil in Monterey. If oil companies get a free pass to experiment on California with dangerous production techniques, they will cause terrible damage to our air, water, wildlife, health and climate. But you can stop them.
It’s time to stop supporting dirty techniques for extracting oil and start investing in clean energy technology that protects our environment and safeguards our climate. The oil industry is not going to give up on fracking the Golden State. It’s up to you to step in now and protect Californians by stopping fracking in our state.
Californians Against Fracking
Center for Biological Diversity
Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment
Food & Water Watch
Oil Change International