Nov 22, 2013

Former Staff Urge Calif. Gov. Brown to Impose Fracking Moratorium

Moratorium would be imposed until studies prove that fracking will not accelerate climate change

Gov. Brown Fracking Moratorium Monterey Shale

Twenty-seven former campaign and administration staffers of California Gov. Jerry Brown released a letter urging him to impose an immediate moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) until independent scientific studies prove that fracking for oil in the Monterey Shale will not accelerate climate change, poison California’s water or pollute the air. Brown signed SB 4 into law, essentially giving oil and gas companies the green light to frack California until 2015. 

An excerpt of the letter reads: “We worked for you on the campaign trail and in your various administrations because we believe in your leadership. It has been an honor to help you shape California's destiny. You recently said that climate change is the ‘greatest existential challenge’ we face today. You know as well as anyone that in our efforts to confront climate change we simply cannot afford to fail or delay. That's why we're asking you to back up your statement that we should ‘give science a chance’ before allowing fracking in California by declaring a moratorium on fracking in our state."

“If Gov. Brown 'gives science a chance,' he’ll discover that fracking for and burning dirty oil is incompatible with any serious plan to fight climate change,” said Michael Kieschnick, Brown’s former economic advisor and current CEO of CREDO Mobile. “I agree with Gov. Brown that climate change is the 'greatest existential challenge' of our time, and I hope that he will do the right thing to protect Californians by imposing a moratorium on fracking in our state."

“Gov. Brown has been leading the fight against climate change, but he doesn’t seem to realize that fracking for oil will make the problem worse,” said Wendy Wendlandt, former national organizer for Jerry Brown for President, and current political director of the Public Interest Network. “Gov. Brown is uniquely situated to lead the region and even the nation’s battle against climate change. He can cement his position as a national leader against climate change by imposing an immediate moratorium on fracking for oil."

So far, 27 former staffers have signed the letter, including Huey Johnson, Brown's former secretary of resources; Jodie Evans, Brown's former director of administration and campaign manager; and Richard Hammond, Brown's former senior energy advisor and deputy secretary of resources.

Fracking continues in California in the wake of the infamous "Halliburton loophole" inserted into the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which exempted fracking from many federal environmental laws. More than 1,250 wells have already been fracked without regulation in California, and the oil and gas industry is preparing to frack many more.

California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources regulations allow oil companies to frack California until 2015. Compounding potential environmental issues, it was recently discovered that an oil company illegally dumped fracking chemicals into an unlined pit in Kern County, thereby threatening the groundwater and public health.