April 2, 2015

Search Results for: fracking

Alameda County Board of Supervisors to consider a ban on fracking

thisoneThe fight to ban fracking in Alameda County is coming to a head. Thanks to the lobbying efforts of our local alliance, Alameda County Against Fracking, a county-wide fracking ban is on the agenda at the September 4th meeting of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. You can help make the fracking ban a reality by joining us at the meeting and writing a letter to the Supervisors showing your support for a frack-free Alameda County.

We need a big crowd to turn out and voice their support for this action. In a conversation last month, Supervisor Scott Haggerty—who is introducing the anti-fracking legislation—emphasized that the success of this ban relies on the Supervisors hearing directly from their constituents. He also said: “I will certainly hear from Chevron.”

Big Oil will fight us on this. So it’s more important than ever that our elected officials hear from YOU. Let’s make sure the Board of Supervisors stays accountable to the voters—not to the oil and gas industry.

WHAT: Alameda County Transportation and Planning Committee meeting
WHEN: Thursday, September 4, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
WHERE: 1221 Oak Street, 5th floor, Oakland

Even if you can’t make it to the meeting, please take a few minutes to write a letter urging your local Supervisor to sign on to the fracking ban, and thanking Supervisor Haggerty for introducing the legislation.

Read more about the Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter’s anti-fracking efforts in “New alliance calls for Alameda County fracking ban.”

New alliance calls for Alameda County fracking ban

Anti-fracking protest.

Anti-fracking protest.

In the wake of the defeat of Senate Bill 1132 (the Fracking Moratorium Bill) and of Governor Jerry Brown’s continued support for the extreme oil extraction methods and acidization, fracking continues in California with minimal, weak regulation. Given the dearth of state-level leadership, communities are stepping up to stop fracking locally. In San Benito, Santa Barbara, Mendocino, and Butte Counties, activists are working on local ballot initiatives to ban fracking. Now, Alameda County has joined the fight.

On July 9, fifty fractivists gathered for a kick-off meeting of Alameda County Against Fracking (ACAF). Elizabeth Echols and Tony Thurmond, both running for State Assembly, took part in the launch event to show their support for a fracking ban. ACAF is actively signing on new partners; so far eleven groups have joined the campaign.

Alameda County is home to six producing oil wells, and while not currently being fracked, the Bay Chapter’s Don’t Frack CA Team, as a founding member of ACAF, is urging the County Board of Supervisors to pass legislation ensuring that the county stays frack-free. To date, a majority of Supervisors have expressed support for fracking-ban legislation in unincorporated Alameda County, but they have conveyed that they want to hear broad-based community support before moving forward.

Meet other fractivists, share your ideas, and learn what you can do to help ban fracking in Alameda County at the Don’t Frack CA Team’s next monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 6:30 pm at the Chapter office in Berkeley.  Also, look for us at the Chapter Picnic on Friday, August 1.

For more information, to join the Google Group announcing upcoming events and news articles of interest, or to volunteer, contact Aria Cahir, Chair of the Bay Chapter Don’t Frack CA Team, at dontfrackcal at gmail.com. If you are active in a group that would support a ban on fracking, please get in touch about bringing that group on board—we are aiming for one-hundred and fifty organizations to support the ban on fracking in Alameda County.

Help keep the Bay Area frack-free—attend the Kick-off meeting for Alameda County Against Fracking

Fractivists in Sacramento

Photo by Aria Cahir.

Local fractivists are needed to protect Alameda County against fracking!

As Governor Brown continues to allow fracking to spread across the state, communities are stepping up to stop fracking locally. Now Alameda County is joining the fight. The county is home to six oil wells, and while not currently targeted for fracking, the San Francisco Bay Chapter and Don’t Frack California are urging the Board of Supervisors to pass an ordinance to ensure that Alameda County stays frack-free. Help launch Alameda County Against Fracking; RSVP today for a kick-off meeting co-hosted by Food and Water Watch, 350 Bay Area, and Moveon.org.

  • What: Alameda County Against Fracking Kick-Off Meeting
  • When: Wednesday, July 9, 6:30 – 8 pm
  • Where: Food & Water Watch office, 1814 Franklin Street, Suite 1100, Oakland

The campaign needs local fractivists to help with educational outreach, coalition-building, and media engagement. We need all hands on deck to help grow the movement in Alameda County and across the state. Governor Brown has deep roots and connections in this county and we want him to know that his neighbors and community members don’t want fracking here—or anywhere in California.

RSVP for the kick-off event today!

Questions? Email Aria Cahir, chair of the Chapter’s Stop Fracking Team.

To learn more about fracking in California, read “Fracking moratorium blocked in Senate“.

Fracking moratorium blocked in Senate

Don't Frack California Oakland rally (last year).

Don’t Frack California Oakland rally (last year).

On May 29 the fracking moratorium bill, SB 1132 (Mitchell and Leno-see “SB 1132 would halt fracking in California“), failed on the California Senate floor. It had failed yesterday by a vote of 18 – 16, with several key senators abstaining. We had hoped to be able to pick up some of those abstaining senators today, but instead, we lost two votes. Sen. Jerry Hill did not vote and we have learned from another senator that Hill was involved in another legislative matter when the vote came up (it was a very weird and confusing day in the Senate) and totally missed it.

Also, Sen. Marty Block, from San Diego, abstained. I talked to Sen. Block after the vote, and he said that he didn’t vote for the bill this time (he had voted for it yesterday) because the bill didn’t have the votes to get out. He also said that “things change” and didn’t explain what he meant by that. Notably, the California Building Trades Council came out in opposition to the bill late yesterday with no warning to any of the environmental groups working on the bill. Sen. Block is very sensitive to labor issues.

So, ultimate vote: 16 yes votes, 16 no votes, with Sens. Ricardo Lara, Ben Hueso, amd Richard Roth abstaining, along with Block and Hill. The only Democrats voting no were senators Norma Torres (currently running for Congress), Ed Hernandez, Lou Correa (termed out this year) and Cathleen Galgiani. All the Republicans voted against the bill, and three Democratic senators are on suspension and so didn’t have the opportunity to vote (Ron Calderon, Rod Wright, and Leland Yee).

Now here’s the good news: we got this bill farther in the process than we ever predicted six months ago. When we began the effort to do a moratorium bill this year, in conjunction with a lot of environmental and environmental-justice allied groups, we didn’t even know if we’d find an author. But we knew we needed to help the environmental community recapture the fracking debate in the Capitol and prove that the environmental community could be united and work effectively to keep the pressure on to halt harmful and extreme oil-extraction methods in the state.

We have more than succeeded. Our coalition found a great pair of joint authors in Sens. Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno. Sen. Mitchell and her staff took the lead position and did an outstanding job shepherding the bill. Meanwhile, the environmental and environmental-justice communities bound together and helped craft a bill we could all support. Indeed, we were able to craft a bill that brought on support from organized labor, many businesses and business associations, various health and community groups, elected officials around the state, and so on.

The bill drew local, state and national attention. News outlets across the country ran stories mentioning it, and the Los Angeles Times ran two editorials supporting it. The bill certainly wasn’t the only thing that has increased public education about the hazards of fracking and well stimulation in California, but it helped.

It did, ultimately, allow the public interest–not the oil industry interest–to recapture the debate about fracking in the legislature.

Today, we had about 10 environmental lobbyists (three from the Club) and three labor lobbyists (thanks to SEIU and CWA), plus a labor strategist, in the Capitol working the bill. Around the state, we had a lot of staff organizers and volunteer organizers, including two Club organizers, helping get the word to get calls into key offices. Over the last many months, our volunteers and staff all around the state have sent out e-mail blasts, tweeted, posted action alerts on FaceBook, and organized rallies to make sure the legislature knew where the public stood on fracking.

Thank you to every one of you who has helped in some way to elevate the fracking issue at the local and state and national level. Now that the bill is done for this year, Sierra Club California’s work on fracking will focus on helping put a spotlight on the governor’s role and ability to place a moratorium on fracking, supporting local chapters’ engagement in local moratorium and ban initiatives, and increasing our public education and outreach work on fracking and other extreme extraction methods.

So fasten your seat belt and get ready for more fast and exciting rides as we work together to halt extreme oil extraction in California and whittle away at Big Oil’s influence.

Kathryn Phillips, director, Sierra Club California

Revised estimate on Monterey Shale oil potential supports call for fracking moratorium

stop-frackingThe Los Angeles Times reported on May 21 that the U.S. Energy Information Administration has dramatically downgraded the amount of oil it expects to be recoverable from the Monterey Shale formations in California.

The agency originally estimated the formations, which underlie areas including from Orange County to Fresno and to the coast, would produce 15.4 billion barrels of oil in 2011. Subsequently, the agency reduced its estimate to 13.7 billion barrels last year. Now the agency has further reduced the estimate to just 600 million barrels of recoverable oil. That’s equivalent to about a month’s worth of U.S. oil consumption.

Hopes of exploiting deep shale formations like the Monterey Shale formations have fed a nationwide increase in the use of extreme extraction methods, including fracking and acid stimulation, that have been linked to increases in water pollution, air pollution, land and soil degradation, earthquakes, and climate- disrupting pollution.

Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California, stated, “This is the second time in less than a year that the federal government has adjusted its estimates for production from the Monterey Shale formations. This underscores how little anyone really knows and understands about the formations and the extreme extraction methods that the oil industry is currently using–intensely–in California to exploit that formation. It highlights that we need a time-out on these extreme methods, like fracking, to assess what’s really going on. We need a moratorium.

“The new estimates further support the idea that California needs to focus more on developing and advancing clean fuels and renewable energy. Relying on oil leads to an economic dead-end.

“The press responses from the oil industry to the new estimates suggest that the industry isn’t fazed. The new estimates won’t discourage the oil companies and oil-industry service companies that, through fracking, have created something akin to a legal pyramid scheme. They’ll still grab drilling rights and build one frack site after the other if they think they can draw investors. And they’ll leave in their wake non- or low-producing frack sites, contaminated water, dirty air, toxic waste, and damaged land.”

Stop future fracking in the East Bay

stop-frackingThere are under a dozen low-producing oil wells in eastern Alameda County near Livermore.


Help get Alameda and Costa Counties to ban any new fracking/acidization/extreme-extraction projects. To work with the Bay Chapter’s Don’t Frack CA team on this, contact Aria Cahir at dontfrackcal@gmail.com. Our Alameda County sub-team meets every two weeks on Wednesday afternoon. Our Contra Costa team is looking for a leader.

See article on page D for our special Don’t Frack CA June meeting.

Stop Fracking Speakers Training–Sunday, April 13

Sunday, April 13, noon to 3:30 pm, Sierra Club Bay Chapter Office, 2530 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley.stop-fracking

Always wanted to speak about fracking and why we should stop it, but get tongue-tied in front of a crowd? If you live in the greater Bay Area, please join the Stop Fracking Speakers Training.

At the training you will have 20 minutes to do a presentation, and you will receive feedback and critique. If you want to do a slide presentation with your talk, we will send you a Dropbox link to download a Stop Fracking Powerpoint presentation and you are welcome to use any of its slides or create your own. You will need to prepare your presentation before the day of the training and to practice at home so you can bring it in within 20 minutes. Judy Pope of 350 Bay Area and a Sierra Club member, who has been a speakers trainer for decades, will be our trainer.

Please RSVP to Lora JoFoo, co-chair of the Sierra Club Bay Chapter Don’t Frack California team, at ljfoo94546@yahoo.com or (510)282-9454.

SB 1132 would halt fracking in California

Anti-fracking protest.

Anti-fracking protest.

Update (April 30, 2014): SB 1132 passed today in the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. We picked up a new supporter in that Committee, Sen. Jerry Hill, who chairs the committee. This is a big deal since Hill had not until today made a commitment on the bill.

Update (April 8, 2014): SB 1132 passed today in the Senate Natural Resources Committee. It was a tough fight, but the bill is alive. Next up is the Environmental Quality Committee on April 30.

Frightening risks from fracking and well stimulation have been coming to light, including permanently contaminated water, air pollution, and public-health problems. Meanwhile, the stage has been set to allow fracking to expand exponentially both on land and offshore in California.

A bill has been introduced in the state Senate that will halt this dangerous activity.

Senate Bill 1132 by Sens. Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno would establish a moratorium that could be lifted only after completion of extensive studies of the dangers of fracking and other forms of well stimulation, including economic costs, effects on private property and land use, and risks to worker safety. A panel would have to determine if existing regulations and laws can protect against fracking’s negative impacts. The governor must use the study outcome to determine whether to lift the moratorium on fracking and well stimulation.

We need to put public safety first. Lax oversight allowed asbestos to kill more than 100,000 Americans even though industry officials had known of the chronic health dangers since the 1930s. Let’s not repeat the mistake with fracking.


Write to your state legislators today at:

State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814.

or find their e-mail addresses at http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov. Urge them to support SB 1132.

To work with our local Sierra Club Bay Chapter’s Don’t Frack California team, come to its monthly meetings on Mon., April 7, and Tue., May 13. Come also to the Bay Area Climate Conference: Renewables vs Extreme Extraction on Fri. – Sat., May 9 – 10.  For details on these, see the Chapter Calendar starting on page A. You can also contact team chairs Lora Jo Foo and Aria Cahir at dontfrackcal@gmail.com or (510)282-9454 (Lora Jo).

Rally in Sacramento to stop fracking–Saturday, March 15

Don't Frack California Oakland rally (last year).

Don’t Frack California Oakland rally (last year).

Gather with your fellow Sierra Club members and Californians from across the state for the “Don’t Frack California” Rally at the State Capitol in Sacramento on Saturday, March 15, 1 – 3:30 pm.

Thousands of Californians will converge on the steps of the State Capitol and tell Gov. Brown to use his authority to issue an executive order immediately halting fracking/well stimulation in California.

Will you stand with us?

Oil companies have been using dangerous technologies to extract oil from California with virtually no oversight. Left unchallenged, they plan to up the ante–putting our air, water, people, and wildlife at even more risk from pollution and climate change.

Let’s show Gov. Brown that when it comes to standing up for the health of our environment, our people, and the future of our state; the Sierra Club always suits up, stands up, and speaks up!

Sign up to come.

Mike Thornton, California coast organizer, Sierra Club California

Stop fracking now!–meetings, speakers bureau, news update

stop-frackingThe Bay Chapter’s Don’t Frack CA team has many opportunities for you to learn about the threat of fracking and to get involved working towards a moratorium on fracking in California.

Monthly meetings

Tuesday, February 4, 6:30 pm, Bay Chapter Office, 2530 San Pablo Avenue (at Dwight), Berkeley.

Monday, March 3,

The monthly meeting of the Sierra Club Bay Chapter’s Stop Fracking Team will focus on water issues related to fracking, and strategizing our lobbying efforts in Sacramento for our March lobby day and rally (see below). We will also continue discussing goals, brainstorming strategies, and deciding on our activities to stop fracking in California.

Speakers bureau

The Bay Chapter Don’t Frack CA team has established a speakers bureau of eight trained speakers available to speak to your organization or committee at an event you organize.

Topics can include:

  • what are fracking and acidization?
  • what is going on now in California?
  • the Sierra Club call for a moratorium on fracking;
  • the health effects of fracking.

We can customize our presentation to your organizational needs.

For more information contact us at Dontfrackcal@gmail.com

News update

On Jan. 6, Assemblymembers Marc Levine, Das Williams, Adrin Nazarian, and Richard Bloom wrote to the governor asking him “to impose a moratorium on fracking while you fully investigate the science behind fracking for oil production.”

The letter points out that, “The vast public health and safety implications of fracking , as well as the tremendous public concern over this practice, require our collective and urgent action. We believe it is time to join with Californians who disapprove of the dangers fracking poses to their communities.  . . . As you know, California values protecting our environment and public health and safety. Current studies show fracking threatens California’s precious water supply, further disrupts our approach to mitigate the dangerous impacts of climate change, exacerbates our air pollution problems, and the disposal of wastewater associated with fracking may increase seismic activity.”