The fossil fuel industry is eyeing a new Gold Rush in the Golden State: the Monterey Shale, a natural gas play stretching from Monterey County south to Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, and the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles County. It's said to hold more barrels than North Dakota's Bakken Formation. "several oil companies, including Venoco and Occidental, have reported they are experimenting in California’s shale formations."
Last week a convention was held on unlocking the Golden State's shale resources, billed as "Be Part of the Biggest Thing to Hit California Since the Gold Rush!"
Tomorrow, in Sacramento, the federal Bureau of Land Management is holding its first auction of 18,000 acres in Fresno, San Benito, and Monterey counties. A protest is being organized, complete with hazmat suits - you can RSVP here. If you can't make it to Sacramento, here's an online petition to tell the BLM - Don't frack California.
The jury is out on whether natural gas, which is mostly methane, is actually as clean burning as it's made out to be. California state regulators have lost track of whether California is being fracked; when they do re-regulate, they probably won't track methane emissions at all. California agricultural interests are concerned about fracking our food supply. An earthquake inducing, water intensive process doesn't seem like a good idea in an earthquake-prone, water-scarce state. The original Gold Rush pioneers didn't worry about environmental degradation as they chased shiny yellow riches. The frackers will likewise heedlessly harm our air and water. Unless we speak up.