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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Santa Cruz Indymedia | Environment & Forest Defense
Federal Plan Could Auction Off 700,000 Acres in California to Oil Industry
'Resist Trump's BLM' Rally at Salinas Hearing on Fracking on Public Land
SALINAS, Calif., March 15, 2017 — Dozens of people will stage a “Resist Trump’s BLM” rally on Thursday afternoon outside a Salinas hearing on the federal Bureau of Land Management’s plan to open hundreds of thousands of acres of public land in California to oil drilling and fracking.
The hearing is part of BLM’s effort to resume leasing public land in California to oil companies. The BLM has not held a single 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. Following 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 BLM” rally at BLM public hearing
When: Thursday, March 16. Rally starts at 3:30 p.m.; hearing starts at 4 p.m.
Where: California State University Monterey Bay at Salinas City Center, 1 Main St., Salinas
Media availability: Rally attendees will be available for interviews before and after the rally.
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