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Attorney General  Jerry Brown speaks news conference disclose new developments in his prope of excessive salaries in the City of Bell, in Los Angeles  Monday, July 19,     2010. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
A new Climate Central report warns that sea level rise is locking in quickly and threatening cities across the United States. Florida is, by far, the most vulnerable state; but other coastal states have plenty of threatened cities. In my own California, here's a very partial list of well known cities and the estimated date at which they become 25% submerged:
Huntington Beach, Orange County's "Surf City," 2020
Stockton, 2030
Palo Alto, home of Stanford University, 2060
Sacramento, home of the state capitol, 2060
Long Beach, 2090
Although Sacramento and Stockton are normally considered inland cities, they're connected to the San Francisco Bay through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a maze of sloughs, marshes, and levees. The report doesn't consider the impact of hypothetical sea walls and similar defensive measures.

As David Roberts asks: We are consigning hundreds of coastal cities to destruction. Who cares?

Who does care? California legislators go about their business of governing in Sacramento. Sometimes they pass good bills, like AB32, California's landmark global warming law. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes California Governor Jerry Brown signals that he knows the impact of droughts, wildfires, and other climate events. Sometimes he signals that he wants to drown the state in a tide of fracked, dirty, carbon-intensive oil.

Fracking and other new unconventional techniques to extract California's 15 billion barrels of oil emits nearly as much carbon as the Keystone XL pipeline. The Monterey Shale holds 2/3 of the US' reserves.

A state senator told me that Brown has cut a deal with the oil companies - he'll push fracking California's oil in exchange for campaign contributions to his 2012 Proposition 30 and his 2014 reelection.

Is it true? Did Brown cut a deal? Consider the evidence.

Occidental Petroleum has maxed out its campaign contributions to Brown's November 2014 reelection campaign, as of July 2013.

Among the contributions to Brown's Proposition 30 campaign, from state Fair Political Practices Commission records:

Aera Energy (Exxon-related), $125,000
Berry Petroleum, Denver, $35,000
Breitburn Operating, Houston, $21,250
CA State Pipe Trades Council (usually the pipeline union supports Big Oil), $100,000
Conoco Phillips, $25,000
E & B Natural Resources Management, Bakersfield, $20,000
MacPherson Oil Co., $50,000
Naftex, $10,000
Occidental Petroleum, $500,000
Plains Exploration & Production, $100,000
SoCal Pipe Trades Council, $125,000
Signal Hill Petroleum, $10,000
Vaquero Energy, $35,000
Venoco, $25,000
The roughly $1 million raised by the oil companies was part of a $40 million campaign to pass Proposition 30 - not a dealbreaker, but a significant quantity of cash for an industry that usually backs Republicans over Democrats. Last year, the unusual allies of Gov. Brown and oil companies were ascribed to fossil fuels' desire to avoid an oil severance tax. This year, the tax is off the table, but Occidental still maxes out its contributions to Brown.

A bill, SB4, moving through the state Assembly, will regulate fracking and other unconventional oil extraction techniques. It will provide some monitoring, notification to nearby residents, and limited disclosure of trade-secret-protected chemicals. It's opposed by those who want a moratorium on fracking, including Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch. And even that relatively weak bill may not be signed by Gov. Brown. Rumor has it that he wants a toothless bill resembling state regulations in process: one limited to fracking but not addressing acidization of wells and one that provides no disclosure to adjacent residents.

Brown wants the high speed rail line to be his legacy. But if he doesn't impose a moratorium on dirty, carbon-intensive oil, his legacy will be the drowning of Sacramento.

Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by California politics, DK GreenRoots, Climate Change SOS, Kitchen Table Kibitzing, and Central Valley Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks RLMiller, (20+ / 0-)

    I do like Jerry and am pleased prop 30 passed, but this pisses me off. I want dirty oil out of funding education. Moratorium it must be.

    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass... it is about learning to dance in the rain." ~ Vivanne Grenne Shop Kos Katalogue!

    by remembrance on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:20:53 PM PDT

  •  Call your Assemblymember and tell them DON'T (8+ / 0-)

    vote for SB 4...which had every tooth extracted and which will be used as a been there done that excuse not to do anything else.  

    Urge them to wait till next legislative session and vote for SB 1301 which has shiny teeth and a moratorium.

    Ban Fracking NOW!  

    Dollarocracy is not Democracy

    by leema on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:29:56 PM PDT

  •  What every happened to the principled Brown of (6+ / 0-)

    old?

    Dollarocracy is not Democracy

    by leema on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:32:38 PM PDT

  •  I grew up on that Delta. (12+ / 0-)

    It's always been so fragile.  My father worked there at one of the ports as a heavy equipment operator.  Over the years, there were times he would be gone for days, trying to move earth and reinforce, due to flooding.  The Delta and her ports are one of the jewels of California.  This just wrenches my heart.  The Governor will be hearing from me.

    You are my brother, my sister.

    by RoCali on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:36:25 PM PDT

  •  These bribes should be much higher (16+ / 0-)

    But they shouldn't go into the politicians campaign funds, they should go into the California General Fund. The oil companies should be paying the extraction (or severance) tax that are charged in Alaska and Texas. Much of this new tax should go to excessively regulate the drilling processes. The rest of the new tax should go to support renewable energy.


    i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

    by bobinson on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:45:17 PM PDT

  •  I don't trust Gov. Brown (10+ / 0-)

    He plays his cards very close to the vest and I can't see where he stands on many issues.  From fracking to Single Payer (many think he was behind the blue dog sabotage of SB 810) to Obamacare  itself.

    Certainly Meg Whitman would have been disastrous and I loved his Prop 30 tax increase to the wealthy but...

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 03:51:34 PM PDT

  •  If I was still in Ca. I would keep a close (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RLMiller, elwior, KenBee

    eye on the former Ft. Ord site and the current Hunter Ligget.

    The Army/DOD have more then enough workarounds to do what ever they want to despite a state ban.

  •  25% of Stockton underwater in 16 years? That (5+ / 0-)

    seems a bit over the top.

    From Update to the Sea-Level Rise Guidance Document That the state is using for planning.

    Table 1. Sea-Level Rise Projections using 2000 as the Baseline
    South of Cape Mendocino
    2000-2030 4-30 cm / 0.13 - 0.98ft
    2000-2050 12-61 cm / 0.39 - 2.0ft

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 04:03:20 PM PDT

    •  generally, sea level rise (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, mrsgoo, KenBee

      is occurring faster than scientists have thought, and predictions are being revised.

      The Climate Central paper's methodology uses long term predictions and calculates what's already baked in.

      And yes, I hope it's a bit over the top.

      •  I can remember driving over the Pioneer bridge, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RLMiller, KenBee

        which crosses the Sacramento just downstream from the M street bridge, during a very wet winter (1980??). It was high tide downstream and from where I was, the water looked like it was just about to touch the underside of the M street bridge. Imagine that river 10 feet higher. Over the levees it goes, definitely submerging Natomas (low land in the northwest corner of town between the Sacramento and the American rivers), and probably submerging a lot of West Sacramento, Bryte, Broderick, and other parts of Sacramento.

        Not at all over the top. Natomas is well under the level of the top of the river most of the year, already.

        •  My wife (mrsgoo) made me do this. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RLMiller, KenBee, offgrid

          You're mixing your metaphors. Climate change, global warming, whatever, is a different animal than what you describe.

          As a resident of the Delta since 1968 I have watched numerous high water events, We can attribute them to any number of influences.

          It kinda come's down to this. The M street bridge is not at sea level.

          It's kinda tough to equate sea level rise to some perceived need to build a Peripheral Canal Tunnel/Isolated Conveyance as justification.

          You're not doing this and I get it, but as you promote your perspective of this be careful.

          mrsgoo here: What mrgoo is saying is one of the reasons that Jerry wants to build the tunnel boondoggle is sea level rise. Their other excuse is earthquakes. IMHO if climate change results in less snowpack and more rainfall, then the argument needs to be made that we need more storage.

          if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

          by mrsgoo on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 07:44:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My apologies; here is clarification: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RLMiller

            Sea level rise will mean that:

            when there's a high-high tide downstream
            in midwinter during a really wet year
            when all of the dams are releasing lots of water

            that the water level on the Sacramento River will be pushed up even farther than we've seen it go;

            my anecdote was to convey the fact that even 30-40 years ago, there were some really scary high-water events.

            The year I saw this the Yolo Bypass was, as usual, already flooded as it is supposed to be. It was maxed out.

            If the Sacramento tops out even higher, levees don't even have to break- they'll be overtopped. This is most likely to happen as the high-tide wave from downstream sluggishly propagates upstream. This high-tide wave will be much higher 30, 50, 70 years from now than it was in 1967 or whenever it was I saw this, because of climate change. I might mention I lived in the Sacto area from 1950 to 1972 and go back for visits, so I know something of what I speak.

            So no, I didn't get this wrong and I was not talking about metaphors at all. I was talking about a predictable but not obvious consequence of sea level rise, that would be a very unpleasant surprise to

            West Sacramento is only 15 feet above sea level. Natomas is way low. Marysville has been flooded twice in my lifetime and it'll happen again. Forest fires will increase in severity and frequency, leading to increased runoff.

            mrsgoo is right that we need more storage, but I don't think we can put in any more dams without killing all the salmon. Ground-water storage needs to be vigorously pursued.

        •  natomas should never have been developed (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RLMiller, KenBee, grover, S F Hippie

          even without rising sea levels, it should have been left as the sac equivalent of the yolo bypass.

      •  Oh I understand. But I wonder if they are taking (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RLMiller, KenBee

        into consideration the levees in the delta or just using elevation. Seems to me if they are predicting 25% of Stockton underwater by 2030 then SF is going to be in total world of hurt.

        if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

        by mrsgoo on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 07:11:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  SF is rocky and gains elevation quickly (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RLMiller, KenBee, grover

          parts of SF are borked (basically everything on fill), parts of SF will be high and dry for some time. sac will go under before a lot of SF.

          •  I don't think people really have any idea how (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RLMiller

            The topography of the greater Bay/Delta Area works.

            There are numerous SF Bay maps with sea rise projections via a google search. Most are PDFs, so I'm not going to bother to link to them (especially on my phone).

            But Vallejo, Suisun, Fairfield, Carneros, and Sacramento basically get obliterated.

            Distance from the Pacific is no protection.

            © grover


            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

            by grover on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 11:37:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, this site: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RLMiller

            http://geology.com/...

            Has a good map that seems to reflect the consensus.  

            © grover


            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

            by grover on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 11:39:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  In the modeling for the Bay Delta Conservation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RLMiller

        Plan -- the State is saying in 50 years.

        We are going to have to decide what to do with the Bay first if we don't get crackin' on climate change.

        "Since when did obeying corporate power become patriotic." Going the Distance

        by Going the Distance on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:48:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Also, what is not being modeled properly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RLMiller

        for California is that we will be in drought more frequently.  We will need fresh water flows to stop the saltwater inundation in our rivers.

        "Since when did obeying corporate power become patriotic." Going the Distance

        by Going the Distance on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:50:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree, palo alto would have to be impacted (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RLMiller

      by the bay rise, because the Santa Cruz mountains and coastal mountain range lies between the pacific and palo alto..  If that's the case the whole area around the bay is toast!

      Takin it to the Streets! time to GOTV

      by totallynext on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 02:13:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looking ahead: toxic materials (8+ / 0-)

    in inundated areas

    We have all these pollution laws, and then something like the Japanese and Indonesian tsunamis, hurricane Katrina, or storm Sandy comes along, and all kinds of awful substances get subsumed into the ocean.

    Flooding in Sacramento and elsewhere is very possible. Let's make less of this stuff, and of what we have, let's protect it better.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 04:08:41 PM PDT

  •  Important to keep this front and center (6+ / 0-)

    thanks for your valuable work on this most important of all issues.

    FYI - You are slightly misinterpreting the climate central web page in your link.

    The cities on the list for each date on the website will not be 25% submerged by that date.  Rather a future sea level rise is 'locked in' at that date that will cause them to be 25% submerged at some future point even if carbon emissions were to cease entirely after that time.  Note that the first date is 2012 and the estimated rise is about 4 feet.  Obviously sea level had not risen 4 feet above historical levels by last year.

    I mention this largely so that you can preemptively defend yourself against potential attacks.

    "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

    by matching mole on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 04:15:12 PM PDT

  •  It will break my heart if all of what (4+ / 0-)

    the oil industry wants to do in Cali gets the green light-Cali's citizens have worked so hard for decades to make this state one of the more environmentally conscious and forced corporate curbs on environmental degradations.  Please don't tell me we sold our educational soul to the oil devils!

  •  Delta Tunnels Boondoggle makes it worse (10+ / 0-)

    Fracking requires water. Big Oil/Big Gas in the southern San Joaquin Valley is lurking in the shadows behind Big Ag waiting for Governor Brown's massive, destructive Delta Tunnels project to make it easier for them to grab subsidized water for fracking. The Tunnels project is being rushed through by the Administration, hoping that the public won't learn what a boondoggle the project is until it is too late to do anything about it.

    Estimates are that the project will be a huge money loser, costing perhaps $1.96 to $3.36 for every $1 of claimed benefit (2012 estimate by UOP Eberhardt School of Business). The project itself has not performed a cost-benefit analysis, perhaps because doesn't want the public to know what a rip-off the project is.

    If you want the Delta to survive, if you want enough fish for sport and commercial fishing industries to continue, if you don't want urban water rates to compete with Big Oil, if you think an $18B mortgage (or more) is way too much for a project that won't deliver new water, if you want water conserved/reused/recycled, if you are worried about climate change's impact on the state's biggest reservoir (the Sierra snowpack), if you don't think bond voters should subsidize greedy water delivery entities, and if you realize that the Tunnels are about water for fracking, then you need to help stop the Delta Tunnels Boondoggle.  

    Learn more at Rage Against the Tunnels, Restore the Delta and the California Environmental Water Caucus

    Energy efficiency 1st in the loading order

    by Left Foot Forward on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 04:36:40 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for links (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RLMiller, S F Hippie

      Saved and I will work them.  I believe the only reason they have not gone full-bore into the Monterrey Shale is lack of water.  Of course we who depend on snow melt in the Sierra also need drinking water because our climate has changed.  The rain comes too early and can't freeze.  This will be the epic environmental battle. Sadly my much loved California could be destroyed by it.  No way do I trust Brown or any of those in power to not bow to the fossil fuels industry.  They have done the tunnels against Delta farmers with guns pointed at them.  They are already fracking on the San Andreas fault in LA per Gasland 2.  Obama and all the economic indicators are depending on fracking to bail out the economy except it is all for export so their lies are obvious.  Very ugly and very disappointing when I thought Obama and Brown were not totally corrupt.

    •  Thanks for the links (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RLMiller

      Saved and I will work them.  Those tunnels provide water for fracking that is greatly opposed, but has been pushed through with massive power against public opposition.  Our drinking water is short due to climate change with rain too early to freeze and store in the Sierra.  Brown's position like that of Obama is a great disappointment.  The combination of stealing needed water, destroying the aquifer, fracking the San Andreas fault is the perfect storm to destroy California.  It will be an epic fight for survival here in Sacramento and the upper central valley.

  •  Great work, RLM! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RLMiller, LillithMc, S F Hippie

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 04:57:13 PM PDT

  •  Great diary, thanks. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RLMiller, S F Hippie

    I grew up on an island on the Oakland estuary, scary to think it might disappear someday.

    Racial hostility, homophobia and misogyny are braided together like strands of the same rope. When we fight one, we fight them all. - Charles M. Blow

    by blueoregon on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 05:23:36 PM PDT

  •  Other groups who oppose SB 4 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RLMiller, KenBee, fumie, S F Hippie

    The Sierra Club, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Citizens Coalition for a Safe Environment, those folks who are suffering the ill health effects of living next to the Inglewood oil field, the largest urban oil field in the country, are also opposed to SB4.  And the 100 plus organizations in Californians Against Fracking will be making a statement against this bill any day now.

  •  finally, davis gets oceanfront property! (5+ / 0-)

    downside: rising sea levels means wetlands and delta being displaced uphill too.

    •  seriously though (5+ / 0-)

      this shit is going to be a huge civilizational problem for california, and i don;t think anyone in govt has really thought through how much money and dislocation adapting to the consequences of built-in past actions is going to cost us, much less future carbon emissions.

      •  I've been asking smart people how much will be (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee, wu ming, grover

        lost, in dollars and cents, when we lose Miami. They just shrug. No one knows. No one knows where to start calculating this. It's as if the language hasn't been invented yet.

        •  Insurance companies know. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RLMiller, wu ming

          Actual structures, property, loss of business, relocation and re-set-up costs.

          I'm confident insuers and reinsuers have a good grasp what it all will cost. They've been talking about, predicting, worrying about, discussing and calculating this stuff since at least the 1990s.

          But no one wants to ask them because that means they can't have their cake and pretend the cake isn't causing environmental collapse.

          © grover


          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:22:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, when we moved here, the realtor (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RLMiller, wu ming

      Kept trying to show us homes on and near American River. We just laughed, having no desire to be mortgaged up to our eyeballs. We chose to live much farther away.

      Funny thing is that if the projections are correct, the American River/Pacific Ocean will end up at the end of our block.

      Of course, there won't be a Sacramento or much else, so I guess the husband will work from home.

      I'm not at all convinced that SMF will still be there. If so, maybe I should let the husband start on the flying lessons he's always wanted.

      Yes, there are times like this that I despair that we made a colossal mistaken moving here, and we should just sell our house and move on before anyone else realize the huge mess this region is in.

      But where would we go? Climate change is going to make many parts of the country uninhabitable. Here, we could always move to Tahoe.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:16:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interactive map for Sacramento sea level rise (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, LillithMc, RLMiller

    The first meter of sea level rise is the most dramatic.

    Global Sea Level Rise Map

    The map below can be used to show which areas would be under water if sea level rises a specific amount. You can select a value of sea level rise using the drop down box in the upper left corner of the map. Although this map is not a carefully surveyed and extremely accurate presentation, it does provide a visually striking view of what geographic areas might be flooded if global climate change continues unabated.

  •  101 thru Arcata/Eureka bottomland is about 1' at (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RLMiller, LillithMc

    high tide today at 6.6'...when it's at 8' the freeway is almost flooded but diked by the unused railroad berm, at about 1.5' higher.

    Caltrans trying to put in an intersection in place of a traffic light, they should be planning for massive change.

    Several miles of 101 and the bay bottomland is at risk from higher water.

    Ventura and Camarillo as well.

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:35:43 PM PDT

  •  That's not fair (0+ / 0-)

    to lump in the union money with the oil companies to make your point.The union contributions are fully 1/4 of that $1 million and leads to a misleading impression that the oil companies have bought Gov. Brown.

    The pipe trades unions fight with the oil companies all of the time and you are mistaken to imply the union money was contributed to support the oil companies' agenda.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 at 10:58:48 PM PDT

  •  To be sure, the South is helping drown it too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RLMiller

    Rest assured that Brown and the California legislature are being supported in their push to drown their state by the good people of Texas, Oklahoma, Florida (who expects help in return for its own drowning) and the generous American people who drive drive drive their cars everywhere all the time -- who says Americans can't work together?

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizam!

    by fourthcornerman on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:59:23 AM PDT

  •  Great research! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RLMiller

    You have written a great article on the oil industry's contributions to Jerry Brown.

    The  oil industry's control over environmental processes is a huge story that the mainstream media refuses to report. I have written a series of articles, published on dailykos and many other sites, exposing how the same oil lobbyist who is pushing for fracking and the Keystone Pipeline, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create alleged "marine protected areas" in Southern California.

    You cannot understand the power that the oil industry wields now in California without realizing the role the state officials and corporate "environmental" NGOs played in greenwashing the WSPA president's role as a "marine guardian - and facilitating her rise to power! Below is my latest piece where I draw the connects between fracking, the campaign for peripheral tunnels and what passes for "marine protection" in California! Please check out the maps on the link!

    Dan

    http://www.indybay.org/...    

    Californians Oppose Expanded Fracking

    by Dan Bacher

    A poll released by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) on July 31 reveals that the majority of Californian residents oppose expanded fracking in the Golden State.

    Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) employs huge volumes of water, mixed with sand and toxic chemicals, to blast open rock formations and extract oil and gas. The technique is environmentally destructive, resulting in pollution to groundwater supplies and streams, as documented in the documentary films Gasland 1 and 2, directed by Josh Fox.

    "As state legislators debate stricter regulations on fracking—already under way in California—51 percent oppose increased use of the drilling method used to extract oil and natural gas (35% favor it, 14% don’t know)," according to PPIC, a nonpartisan research foundation. "Asked whether they favor or oppose stricter regulation of fracking, 50 percent say they are in favor. Among those who favor increased use of fracking, 62 percent also favor stricter regulation." (http://www.ppic.org/...)

    The controversial technique, currently unregulated and unmonitored by California officials, has been used in hundreds and perhaps thousands of oil and gas wells across the state, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

    The survey asked about another hotly debated plan to increase the supply of oil: construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil from Canada to Texas refineries. Half of Californians (51%) favor building the pipeline, 34 percent oppose it, and 15 percent don’t know, according to PPIC.

    "Californians are conflicted when it comes to controversial efforts to expand the oil supply,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. "Slim majorities favor building the Keystone XL pipeline but also oppose fracking, with many wanting stricter regulation of the practice.”

    The poll also revealed that the majority of Californians are opposed to expanded offshore oil drilling, with 54 percent opposing and 41 percent favoring more oil drilling off California’s coast. Among those living in coastal areas, 57 percent oppose more drilling, while those inland are divided (49% favor, 47% oppose).

    Delta advocates fear that much of the water destined for the proposed peripheral tunnels under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) will be used to expand fracking in California. The tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species.

    As oil companies gear up to frack massive petroleum deposits in the Monterey Shale and build the Keystone XL Pipeline, the poll also found that 65 percent of Californians say the state should act immediately to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    The poll puts new pressure on state lawmakers and regulators and Gov. Jerry Brown to halt fracking expansion in the state. A USC/Los Angeles Times poll in June found that more than half of California voters — 58 percent — favor a moratorium on fracking.

    It's time for a fracking moratorium

    “Californians are telling pollsters and policymakers they don’t want fracking pollution fouling up our state,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity. “There’s strong public support for a moratorium on this dangerous practice. We need to stop the oil industry’s fracking expansion now, while there’s still time to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate we depend on."

    Oil companies, represented by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), are increasingly interested in fracking the Monterey Shale, an oil-laden geological formation beneath some of the state’s most productive farmland, important fish and wildlife habitat and scores of towns and cities. Much of the shale is located off the California coast in and near controversial "marine protected areas" that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution and other human impacts other than fishing.

    "Fracking routinely uses numerous toxic chemicals, including methanol and benzene. A recent Colorado School of Public Health study found that fracking increases cancer risk and contributes to serious neurological and respiratory problems in people living near fracked wells," according to Siegel.

    Fish and wildlife are also at risk. Fish, including endangered Central Valley Chinook salmon and steelhead, can die when fracking fluid contaminates streams and rivers. "Birds can be poisoned by chemicals in wastewater ponds and the intense industrial development that accompanies fracking pushes threatened or endangered animals out of wild areas they need to survive," Siegel stated.

    "Drilling and fracking also release huge amounts of methane, an extremely powerful global warming gas," said Siegel. "Methane is about 105 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas over a 20-year period. Burning the estimated 15.5 billion barrels of oil in the Monterey Shale will generate more than 6.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to calculations based on Environmental Protection Agency figures."

    Besides threatening groundwater supplies, endangered salmon and steelhead in the state's rivers and bird populations through the state, fracking also poses an enormous rise to California's marine waters.

    Ocean fracking operations in Santa Barbara Channel approved

    An investigative piece by Mike Ludwig at http://www.truthout.org on July 25 has confirmed that federal regulators approved at least two fracking operations on oil rigs in the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of California since 2009 without an updated environmental review that critics say may be required by federal law.

    These operations were approved as state officials and corporate "environmental" NGO representatives gushed about the alleged "Yosemites of the Sea" and "underwater parks" created in Southern California waters under the "leadership" of Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association.

    "The offshore fracking operations are smaller than the unconventional onshore operations that have sparked nationwide controversy, but environmental advocates are still concerned that regulators and the industry have not properly reviewed the potential impacts of using modern fracking technology in the Pacific outer continental shelf," said Ludwig. (http://www.truth-out.org/...)

    "Oil drilling remains controversial in Santa Barbara, where the memory of the nation's third-largest oil spill lingers in the minds of the public. In 1969, the nation watched as thick layer of oil spread across the channel and its beaches following a blowout on an oil rig, killing thousands of marine birds other wildlife. The dramatic images helped spark the modern environmental movement and establish landmark federal environmental laws that eco-groups continue to challenge the government to enforce," Ludwig noted.

    The current push by the oil industry to expand fracking in California, build the Keystone XL Pipeline and eviscerate environmental laws was made possible because state officials and MLPA Initiative advocates greenwashed the key role Reheis-Boyd and the oil industry played in creating marine protected areas that don't protect the ocean.

    Reheis-Boyd chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force to create alleged "marine protected areas" that fail to the protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling and spills, pollution, military testing, wind and wave energy projects and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering. She also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.

    Reheis-Boyd apparently used her role as a state marine "protection" official to increase her network of influence in California politics to the point where the Western States Petroleum Association has become the most powerful corporate lobby in California. The association now has enormous influence over both state and federal regulators. (http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/...)

    Oil and gas companies spend more than $100 million a year to buy access to lawmakers in Washington and Sacramento, according to Stop Fooling California (http://www.stopfoolingca.org), an online and social media public education and awareness campaign that highlights oil companies' efforts to mislead and confuse Californians. The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) alone has spent more than $16 million lobbying in Sacramento since 2009.

    As the oil industry expands its role in California politics and environmental processes, you can bet that they are going to use every avenue they can to get more water for fracking, including taking Delta water through the peripheral tunnels proposed under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).

    The industry will also use its power to expand fracking in the ocean, as evidenced by the recent approval of ocean fracking operations off the Southern California coast, unless Californians rise up and resist these plans!

    •  Maybe (1+ / 0-)
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      RLMiller

      off-shore fracking is more attractive now because of the water supply.  They always wanted more offshore drilling.  Monterrey Shale is the big target, but there is not enough water now.  They need that replumb of the delta to get the water.  Also we need to enact an oil depletion tax since CA is the only place in the world not to tax oil depletion.  Best of all is keep them out of CA.  Causing earthquakes should be a concern of Brown and Obama plus our need for drinking water that is more necessary after climate change.

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