[env-trinity] Brown signs bill creating ‘environmental platform’ to expand fracking

Dan Bacher danielbacher at fishsniffer.com
Mon Sep 23 11:45:52 PDT 2013


Graphic of Jerry Brown courtesy of redgreenandblue.org


Brown signs bill creating ‘environmental platform’ to expand  

by Dan Bacher

Governor Jerry Brown on Friday, September 20 signed Senator Fran  
Pavley’s Senate Bill 4 - a controversial fracking bill that the head  
of the oil industry lobby admitted will clear the path to expanding  
the environmentally destructive oil extraction process in California.

“While SB 4’s requirements went significantly farther than the  
petroleum industry felt was necessary, we now have an environmental  
platform on which California can look toward the opportunity to  
responsibly develop the enormous potential energy resource contained  
in the Monterey Shale formation,” said Catherine Reheis-Boyd,  
President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA).

Reheis-Boyd, who previously feigned disappointment with the bill even  
after it had been gutted with last minute pro-oil industry  
amendments, gushed, “With the signing of Senate Bill 4, California  
has the toughest regulations of hydraulic fracturing and other energy  
production technologies in the country.”

“There remains a great deal of work to clarify and implement the  
requirements of SB 4. WSPA and our members stand ready to work with  
the Administration, Department of Conservation and other stakeholders  
to ensure SB 4 is implemented effectively and fairly,” she concluded.

All mainstream media accounts of the Pavley legislation that I have  
seen failed to mention the alarming fact that Reheis-Boyd, in one of  
the biggest environmental scandals in California over the past  
decade, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue  
Ribbon Task Force to create alleged “marine protected areas” on  
the Southern California coast. The oil industry superstar also served  
on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and  
North Coast.

Senator Fran Pavley and Governor Jerry Brown claim the legislation  
"regulates" hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), acidizing, and other  
oil extraction techniques, while opponents, including over 100  
environmental, consumer and community groups in the coalition  
Californians Against Fracking, say the bill actually creates a clear  
path to expanded fracking in California.

Strangely enough, Reheis-Boyd essentially agreed with the opponents'  
assessment that the bill will actually result in expanded oil  
drilling in the Monterey Shale Foundation.

"SB 4 tragically green-lights an extremely dangerous practice with  
terrible public health impacts near the homes and schools of  
California’s communities already most overburdened by pollution,”  
said Madeline Stano, Luke Cole Memorial Fellow at the Center on Race,  
Poverty & the Environment.

Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, is a water-intensive  
process where millions of gallons of fluid – typically water, sand,  
and chemicals, including ones known to kill fish and cause cancer in  
humans– are injected underground at high pressure to fracture the  
rock surrounding an oil or gas well. This releases extra oil and gas  
from the rock, so it can flow into the well, according to Food and  
Water Watch. (http://www.alternet.org/fracking/california-poised- 

Senator Pavley lauded Brown for signing Senate Bill 4.

“I am pleased that Governor Brown is committed to rigorously  
implementing this important law,” Senator Pavley said. “I look  
forward to working with the governor and Natural Resources Secretary  
Laird to ensure that we meet the expectations of all Californians of  
transparency and rigorous oversight when the law kicks in on January  
1, 2014.”

Pavley added, "Starting January 1, 2014, oil companies will not be  
allowed to frack or acidize in California unless they test the  
groundwater, notify neighbors and list each and every chemical on the  
Internet. This is a first step toward greater transparency,  
accountability and protection of the public and the environment. Now  
we need immediate, robust enforcement and widespread public  
involvement to ensure the law is upheld to its fullest."

Likewise, Governor Brown in his signing statement claimed Senate Bill  
4 “establishes strong environmental protections and transparency for  
hydraulic fracking and other well stimulation operations.”

“I am also directing the Department of Conservation, when  
implementing the bill, to develop and efficient permitting program  
for well stimulation activities that groups permits together based on  
factors such as known geological conditions and environmental  
impacts, while providing for more particularized review in other  
situations when necessary,” he state.

Caleen Sisk, Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, said Brown's signing  
of Pavley's bill shows how "we are led by representatives who believe  
oil is more important than water for the people."

"There is such a high price to pay for the last drops of oil - then  
what? Even this extreme mining for oil will come to an end!" Sisk noted.

The passage of Pavley's green light for fracking bill occurs in the  
larger context of the oil industry's enormous influence on California  
environmental processes. Pavley, Laird and Brown were all strong  
supporters of the oil lobbyist-overseen Marine Life Protection Act  
(MLPA) Initiative to create questionable "marine protected areas" in  
Southern California, so it is no surprise that they will now be  
helping to implement the fracking of California – or as Reheis-Boyd  
claims, “responsibly” developing the “enormous potential energy  
resource contained in the Monterey Shale formation.”

These so-called “Yosemites of the Sea” and “underwater parks”  
fail to 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. The  
alleged “marine protected areas” are good for the oil industry and  
ocean industrialists – and bad for fishermen, tribal gatherers, the  
environment and the people of California.

State officials and representatives of corporate "environmental" NGOs  
embraced the leadership of Reheis-Boyd and other corporate operatives  
who served on the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Forces to create “marine  
protected areas” that fail to actually protect the ocean. By backing  
her leadership as a "marine guardian," they helped to increase the  
influence of the Western States Petroleum Association, the most  
powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento.

Two of the groups who were among the strongest supporters of the MLPA  
Initiative - NRDC and the League of Conservation Voters - also  
strongly backed Pavley's green light to fracking bill until the very  
last minute when amendments they suggested weren't included in the  
bill's final draft. They, along with Clean Water Action and the  
Environmental Working Group, withdrew their support on September 11  
after the oil industry gutted the already very weak bill. (http:// 

Now Pavley, Brown and Laird, true to form, will preside over expanded  
fracking in Cailifornia that will result in tremendous damage to  
groundwater supplies, rivers and imperiled fish populations, and  
human health.

Pavley, Brown and Laird also support the Bay Delta Conservation Plan  
(BDCP) to build the twin tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin  
River Delta. The construction of the tunnels will result in the  
export of massive quantities of northern California water to  
corporate agribusiness interests irrigating drainage-impaired land on  
the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The construction of the tunnels would hasten the extinction of  
Central Valley salmon and steelhead, Delta smelt, longfin smelt,  
green sturgeon and other species, as well as imperil the salmon and  
steelhead populations of the Trinity and Klamath river.

For more information about the hijacking of "marine protection" in  
California by the President of the Western States Petroleum  
Association (WSPA), go to: (http://yubanet.com/california/Dan-Bacher- 

Background: Big Oil dominates California politics

The oil industry, now the most powerful corporate lobby in  
Sacramento, exceeds corporate agribusiness, the computer and software  
industry, the film and television industry, the aerospace industry  
and other major corporate players in California politics in the power  
that it wields.

The association now has enormous influence over both state and  
federal regulators.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, 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. (http:// 

The association spent the most of any organization in first six  
months of 2013, $2,308,789.95, to lobby legislators and other state  
officials, according to documents filed with the California Secretary  
of State.

When the oil industry wields this much power - and an oil industry  
lobbyist oversaw the process that was supposed to "protect" the ocean  
- it shouldn't be a surprise to anybody that California's ocean  
waters, as well as farmland, are now being "fracked." Both the state  
and federal regulators have completely failed in their duty to  
protect our ocean, bays, rivers and Delta.

For more information about the MLPA Initiative, go to: http:// 
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