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