Court Victory for Opponents of Fracking in California
Center for Biological Diversity Sierra Club
Today, a federal judge has ruled that the Obama Administration violated the law when it issued oil leases in Monterey County, Calif., without considering the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. The ruling came in response to a suit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club, challenging a September 2011 decision by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to auction off about 2,500 acres of land in southern Monterey County to oil companies.
“This important decision recognizes that fracking poses new, unique risks to California’s air, water and wildlife that government agencies can’t ignore,” said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity, who argued the case for the plaintiffs. “This is a watershed moment—the first court opinion to find a federal lease sale invalid for failing to address the monumental dangers of fracking.”
Fracking employs huge volumes of water mixed with sand and toxic chemicals to blast open rock formations and extract oil and gas. The controversial technique is already being used in hundreds—perhaps thousands—of California oil and gas wells. Oil companies are aggressively trying to frack the Monterey Shale, which stretches from the northern San Joaquin Valley into Los Angeles County, and west to the coast. Extracting this oil will certainly require more fracking in California.