For Immediate Release, January 25, 2021

Contact:

Clare Lakewood, (510) 844-7121, clakewood@biologicaldiversity.org

Federal Bill Proposes Fracking, Drilling Halt on California’s Central Coast, Bay Area

WASHINGTON— U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) reintroduced legislation today to create a moratorium on fracking and drilling along California’s Central Coast and in the Bay Area.

The bill would stop the Bureau of Land Management from acting on the Trump administration’s 2019 decision to allow fracking and drilling on 725,500 acres of public lands and mineral estate.

It would require the agency to complete and circulate for public comment a supplemental environmental review of the lands across 11 affected counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Stanislaus.

The environmental review will evaluate the impacts of fracking and drilling on air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, groundwater, surface water, wildlife, low-income communities, communities of color and Indigenous communities. If the bill passes, the BLM won’t be able to proceed with oil and gas development in the area until the review is complete.

“While we look forward to President Biden following through on his campaign promise to ban new oil and gas leasing on federal lands, this important legislation would move us toward permanent protections for our air, water and health along California’s coast,” said Clare Lakewood, legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “We’re grateful that Rep. Panetta is continuing to push back against the dangerous expansion of oil extraction in our state.”

The Trump administration’s California fracking plan faces ongoing legal action. In 2019 the Center and allies sued over the plan, pointing out that the BLM had violated federal law by failing to consider the potential harm from oil and gas extraction to groundwater and the climate, as well as the potential for fracking-induced earthquakes.

Fracking is an extreme oil-extraction process that blasts toxic chemicals mixed with water underground to crack rocks. According to the BLM, about 90% of new oil and gas wells on public lands are fracked.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.