Feds suspend oil leases on public land in Central California

California Atty. General Rob Bonta announced Monday that the state has reached an agreement with the federal government to suspend new oil and gas leases on public lands in Central California until potential health risks community and environment are fully assessed.

The ban comes after several years of legal challenges from environmental groups and the state of California, which accuses the US Bureau of Land Management under Donald Trump of opening more than 1 million acres of federal land in Central California to drilling. and hydraulic break without thoroughness. examine potential impacts on air quality and ground water.

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracturing, is a common method used to extract more oil and natural gas by injecting high-pressure water, sand, and a large amount of toxic chemicals into the formations. create underground rock. Chemical cracking has the ability to freeze nearby aquifers and release harmful air pollution linked to an increased risk of asthma, heart disease and some cancers.

Research also shows that cracking can cause smaller concussions.

“Faulting is dangerous to our communities, damaging to our environment, and inconsistent with California’s climate goals,” Bonta said in a statement Monday. “The Trump administration has recklessly opened Central California to new oil and gas drilling without considering how fracturing could hurt communities by contaminating groundwater, toxic emissions, and wildlife. small land, climate impact and more. In keeping with the Bureau of Land Administration’s mission to preserve the health of our public lands, it must reevaluate this Trump-era mistake.”

Bonta, along with his predecessor, Xavier Becerra, accused the federal agency of failing to adequately assess these potential impacts or adequately consider how to mitigate them on the 1.2 million acres in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura Counties.

Under the agreement announced Monday, the Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency responsible for overseeing oil and gas development on federal and Native American tribal lands, has agreed not to allow lease these lands until an assessment is completed that reasonably addresses environmental concerns.

“Protecting public lands is not only a step forward but a way to prevent some setbacks,” said Cesar Aguirre, a senior organizer of the Central California Environmental Justice Network. “Using public land to support the oil industry is dangerous for green spaces and our communities. We must protect our public lands not only for our enjoyment, but for us to protect the Earth.”

https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2022-08-01/feds-suspend-oil-leases-on-public-land-in-central-california Feds suspend oil leases on public land in Central California

Edmund DeMarche

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