Letter to Governor Brown to call for a Moratorium on Fracking in California
WILPF-California Action, has signed on to a letter to Governor Brown urging him to use his executive authority to call a time-out on fracking until the impacts can be thoroughly studied and until safeguards are put in place to protect against the risks.
You can view the text of the letter below the list of supporting organizations.
Thanks to the following groups who are already signed on:
California League of Conservation Voters
Clean Water Action
Community Health Councils
Environmental Defense Center
Environmental Working Group
Mujeres de la Tierra
Natural Resources Defense Council
Planning and Conservation League
Sierra Club California
The City Project
CA Fracking Moratorium Letter to Governor Brown
December 17, 2013
Governor Jerry Brown
Dear Governor Brown:
On behalf of the undersigned organizations, representing more than 1 million Californians, we are writing to request that you use your executive authority to place an immediate moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and other well stimulation activities unless and until the public health risks and environmental impacts have been thoroughly studied and evaluated, and adequate safeguards are put in place to protect against them. In November you stated on KQED’s Forum program that we should “let the science work” and that “[they] can’t start [fracking] until California’s rigorous study is conducted.” We couldn’t agree more, but unfortunately, fracking, acidizing and other forms of well stimulation are happening in California today.
We appreciate your leadership in combating climate change and moving California to a clean energy future. Your support for AB 32 and California’s other clean air and clean energy policies and programs are critically important as the state continues its implementation of these landmark laws. But ramping up dirty fossil fuel production through emerging drilling and well stimulation methods is at odds with California’s clean energy, climate, water and air quality goals. Expanding oil drilling is not a sustainable path for California or for our planet.
An increasing body of evidence demonstrates that there are many reasons to be concerned about the effects of fracking and other well stimulation activities. Fracking involves injecting underground a cocktail of chemicals that can include toxics like hydrofluoric acid, formaldehyde and benzene, often through or adjacent to groundwater used for drinking and irrigation. Hydraulic fracturing requires significant water resources and any major ramping up of these operations creates another competing demand for California’s precious water supplies. These processes produce large quantities of toxic wastewater that requires management and disposal. Fracking has been linked to induced earthquakes, a particular concern for California. Emissions from oil and gas facilities include toxic air contaminants, smog-forming pollutants and greenhouse gases. In addition, studies link fracking to adverse impacts on human health and damage to private property.
California has been at the forefront of environmental protection in many areas, but on fracking the state is still behind. It’s time for us to catch up to the other states that have acted to protect public health and the environment on this critical issue. New York’s Governor issued an executive order halting fracking in order to give state regulators time to analyze environmental impacts and develop rules. The states of Vermont, Maryland and North Carolina, and local governments in several states, have imposed moratoria or banned fracking entirely.
A majority of Californians agree that a moratorium on fracking is needed now. A poll by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Times showed that 58 percent of California voters want a moratorium on fracking, at least until an independent commission has studied fracking’s environmental impacts. The Public Policy Institute of California’s statewide study from September, 2013 found that 53 percent of Californians oppose increased use of fracking.
The combination of advanced drilling and well stimulation techniques has made it possible to produce oil and gas from unconventional formations that were previously inaccessible. Policies that open up California to expanded fossil fuel investments – in contrast to clean energy – take us in the wrong direction on climate change by locking us into decades of carbon-intensive resources.
Governor Brown, you have a strong clean energy record and you have the authority to make sure that Californians’ safety and public health come first. You can issue an executive order directing the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) to carry out its statutory duty to prevent oil and gas operations from harming human health, property, and natural resources. Until there is a better understanding of the risks of fracking; until we know the climate impacts from development of the Monterey Shale; and until sufficient safeguards are in place, continued fracking leaves the health of Californians and our precious natural resources unprotected. We urge you to impose an immediate moratorium on fracking, acidizing and other forms of well stimulation.
- WILPF Earth Democracy Issue Committee: www.wilpfus.org/our-work/earth-democracy-0
- Food and Water Watch: www.foodandwaterwatch.org/take-action/in-your-community/pacific-region/california/
- Earth Justice: www.earthjustice.org/our_work/campaigns/fracking-gone-wrong-finding-a-better-way
- Center for Biological Diversity: www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/california_fracking/