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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Santa Cruz Indymedia | Environment & Forest Defense
Fracking Foes to Target Hollister Hearing on Leasing Public Lands to Oil Industry
Proposal Could Auction 700,000 Acres in California for Drilling, Fracking
HOLLISTER, Calif., March 14, 2017 — Dozens of anti-fracking activists will attend a public hearing Wednesday afternoon in Hollister to oppose the Trump administration’s plan to open hundreds of thousands of acres of public land in California to oil drilling and fracking.
The hearing is part of the Bureau of Land Management’s effort to resume leasing public land in California to oil companies. The BLM has not held an oil-lease sale in the state since 2013, when a federal judge ruled that the agency violated the law by issuing oil leases in Monterey County without considering the environmental risks of fracking.
Now, under the Trump administration, the agency is considering auctioning off more than 700,000 acres of public land and mineral estate in Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Stanislaus counties. Four of these counties — Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Alameda — have banned fracking.
“We must resist the Trump administration’s appalling plan to auction off some of California’s most beautiful wild places for drilling and fracking,” said Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We can’t let oil companies pollute our air and water. Turning this public land over to the oil industry would also harm our climate at a time when California must move away from dirty fossil fuels.”
In 2013 a federal judge ruled that the BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act by issuing oil leases in Monterey County without considering the environmental dangers of fracking. Since that ruling the BLM has refrained from holding any lease sales in the state.
In September 2016 a U.S. district judge overturned a federal plan to open more than 1 million acres of public land and mineral estate in central California to drilling and fracking.
Oil companies frack about 90 percent of wells on public lands nationwide. A 2015 California Council on Science and Technology report found that fracking in California commonly employs dangerously toxic chemicals at shallow depths near drinking-water aquifers.
What: “Resist Trump’s Bureau of Land Management” at BLM public hearing
When: Wednesday, March 15, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: San Juan Oaks Golf Club, 3825 Union Road, Hollister
Media availability: Anti-fracking activists will be available for interviews before and after the hearing.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.2 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Center for Biological Diversity