Washington, DC – Los Padres ForestWatch praised legislation introduced today by Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) that would place a moratorium on fracking and new oil and gas drilling on federal lands on California’s central and southern coasts. The legislation comes in direct response to a recent decision by the Trump Administration opening more than one million acres of land and minerals in Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo and five other central California counties to new oil and gas leasing and fracking.
“We must take every action to stop the current administration’s push to exploit public lands for the benefit of a few oil companies,” said Los Padres ForestWatch advocacy director Rebecca August. “We are lucky to have elected officials who will stand up for our communities and our environment.”
The bill directs the Bureau of Land Management to withdraw its December announcement that opened up key parkland, forests, beaches, trails, reservoirs, and schools to drilling and fracking. The BLM’s announcement came despite widespread opposition to the plan and its effects on the environment, public health, and climate. The bill directs the agency to conduct further studies evaluating the risks posed by drilling and fracking, and places a moratorium on issuing new drilling and fracking leases until those new studies are complete.
Last month, a coalition of seven other conservation and community organizations filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop the BLM’s drilling and fracking plan. Organizations bringing the lawsuit include ForestWatch, Center for Biological Diversity, Patagonia, Central California Environmental Justice Network, National Parks Conservation Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and The Wilderness Society, represented by attorneys at Earthjustice and the Center for Biological Diversity. A second suit was filed by the State of California.