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Brown is anything but Green
by Kristin Lynch
Tuesday Mar 27th, 2012 1:22 PM
On Friday, March 23, Governor Jerry Brown told an audience at a renewable energy conference near Santa Barbara that he is studying the highly controversial drilling method of hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking). Brown’s nonchalant comments during the talk illustrate his pro-oil and gas industry attitude and highlight the undue influence wealthy oil companies have on our elected officials and the governmental agencies designated to protect human health and our shared essential resources.
Brown laid out the case against any need to regulate the industry or their new fracking technologies going so far as to say that the threat of trial lawyers is enough to keep the industry “self-disciplined.” When I read this in the LA Times PolitiCal blog, I did a second-take to make sure it wasn’t a Halliburton representative speaking. Nope. It was indeed our “environmental” Governor, Jerry Brown.

Fracking, a type of oil and gas drilling that injects millions of gallons of chemicals water and sand into the ground can deplete and contaminate groundwater, decrease property values, threaten public health and may even cause earthquakes.

Across the country, communities are fighting back against fracking and winning, and no doubt hoards of environmentalists across California are supporting them from a distance thinking, “this would never happen in California.” But it is happening completely unregulated, unmonitored and under the radar. The Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), the governmental agency designated to regulate all drilling in California, says it doesn’t even know where and how often fracking occurs.

This isn’t the first time in Brown’s second go as Governor that he has flagrantly turned his back on the environmental movement he used to be a stalwart of and sided with oil barons. Back in November he fired two of California’s top oil and gas production regulators immediately after they raised legitimate worker safety and federal regulatory concerns relating to the industry’s risky underground injection practices.

This time around, Governor Brown is making it clear that he’s on the oil and gas industry’s side. Which is why Californians need to send a strong message to him that we are not going to sit back as he lets the oil and gas industry make the rules and monitor themselves while our environment, health and the natural resources that belong to all of us are at risk. Please join us, our allies and the tens of thousands of Californians that have signed onto our petition calling on Governor Brown to ban fracking in California.

Kristin Lynch is the Pacific Region Director for the consumer advocacy nonprofit Food & Water Watch.