I set foot in the real world of California Democratic Party politics - 'tis a scary and dangerous place. I injected myself into a party resolution, originally calling for a moratorium on fracking, to keep it from being watered down to calling for a wait-and-see-about-regulations. I networked with party activists and trusted smart people to get the strong moratorium passed through the party - it was, last year. At the same time, I ran for chair of the party's environmental caucus, and won, thanks in large part to the netroots.
We had a nice meeting last Friday night at my caucus before going on to the general session on Saturday.
Fracking has shot up to the top of California Democrats' environmental concerns. Water use worries us - we're in a drought. Earthquakes related to wastewater injection concern us - our state's messy geologic beds don't need to be the site of an uncontrolled scientific experiment. Worst of all for a state priding itself on climate leadership, California is being fracked for dirty oil, not natural gas - the most carbon-intensive oil in the world, dirtier than the Canadian tarsands, are found just off the 101 freeway. If we could stop fracking anywhere, we could stop it in California...or could we?
We were treated as fringe elements while Governor Brown cut deals with oil companies to frack up the state. We were treated as purity trolls for opposing SB4, billed as "the strongest fracking regulations in the country" (except for Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and a few others). I was called "divisive" and "disruptive" by people on all sides of the debate.
But the political winds have begun to shift, and now the Speaker of the Assembly John Perez tells us that he'll do what he can to get SB1132, this year's fracking moratorium bill, through the Assembly. I organized "Another Democrat Against Fracking" signs at the party convention. And Gov. Brown heard us...as the Sacramento Bee reports, he heard us.
The fracking moratorium is now in the party platform.
Brown's support of fracking will cost him and it will cost other fossil-fueled Democrats.
My fracking revolt was the lead story coming out of the convention, but the bigger story is the shift within Sacramento politics.
Oh, and I published a diary in the What's For Dinner series while attending the convention. It was going to be on pie, but instead it was on California water and almonds.
So forgive me if I haven't been writing as much as I'd like.