By Christina Tarr
Deadline – submit comments by email by September 7, 2018. Note that you are commenting on 83 FR 39116.
If email link doesn’t work, address is: email@example.com
In a coordinated attack on California, coming just after challenging our vehicle emissions standards, the Trump administration took the first steps toward opening up 1.6 million acres of public land and mineral estate in California to fracking and oil drilling. The Bureau of Land Management posted a notice of intent in the Federal Register on August 8, 2018:
the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bakersfield Field Office, Bakersfield, California, intends to prepare a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a potential Resource Management Plan (RMP) amendment for the Bakersfield Field Office Resource Management Plan. The supplemental EIS will analyze the impacts of hydraulic fracturing technology on BLM-administered public land and mineral estate in the Bakersfield Field Office Planning Area exclusive of the California Coastal National Monument and the Carrizo Plain National Monument.
The notice seeks comments on the dangers of opening up 400,000 acres of public land and an additional 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties. This would end a five year moratorium on leasing federal land to oil companies in California: no federal lands in the state have been leased to oil companies since 2013, when a federal judge found that the BLM had leased land in Monterey County without fully considering the environmental impact of fracking.
Environmentalists are concerned that fracking — an extreme oil-extraction process that blasts toxic chemicals mixed with water underground to crack rocks — can increase the risk of earthquakes and contaminate groundwater. The public lands in question here sit over groundwater that supplies neighboring areas with water for agricultural and human uses. In addition, fracking in California happens at unusually shallow depths, which means toxic chemicals are even closer to underground drinking water supplies than usual, with unusually high concentrations of chemicals, many of which are dangerous to human health and the environment.
In a state where water is more precious than oil, we can’t take this kind of risk with our groundwater.
Comment now! Comments close on September 7, 2018. More info on commenting here (but don’t use the comment link on that page – it appears to be broken!) Send an email instead to: firstname.lastname@example.org and note that you are commenting on 83 FR 39116.
Notes you can include in your comment:
- Do not open our beautiful public lands to fracking and drilling. Do not sacrifice our health, wildlife and climate to profit big polluters.
- Fracking involves the use of very toxic chemicals, which we don’t want on our public lands.
- The toxic chemicals will invariably spread to nearby cities and towns, and the people affected are often the very poorest people.
- These toxic chemicals get into the groundwater, especially in California, where fracking is dangerously shallow.
- In a state where water is so precious — to agriculture, human populations, and wildlife — clean water is worth more than dirty oil.
- We desperately need to keep these dirty fossil fuels in the ground and focus more on developing cheaper and cleaner green energy technologies. The climate is changing and we need to take step to move away from oil, not pour resources into using the dirtiest and most difficult to extract.
- Why despoil our environment to extract a resource we should be moving away from?
Christina Tarr is a local librarian with an interest in birds and wild places.