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Image from Garfield

I woke up, shuffled into the kitchen to get the coffee started, then continue my pre-coffee shuffling out front to get the newspaper.  AND, what is on the front page of the Oakland Tribune – “California Releases First Ever Fracking Regulations”.  Did the Holidays come early?  Should I ditch this coffee for a fresh made mimosa and call in sick? NOPE! Upon further reading, I see that the environmental groups are highly critical of these regulations and the oil industry claims this to be a good start.  Hmm, well this was not turning into being the sunny mimosa morning I had envisioned two paragraphs ago. Then, buried deep in the article it starts to make sense.  So, pour that coffee, because we’ve got a lot of work to do. Apparently, these new draft regulations come in response to the auction of mineral leases of 18,000 acres of land, known as the Monterey Shale formation.  These 18,000 acres include land in Monterey, Fresno and San Benito Counties, that was owned by the Federal Government as public land!  You better hit up those organic California wineries with your out of town relatives this year, because whatever remained of our Bay Area bubble has been broken.  Fracking is coming to the Bay Area of California.

Image from the India Times

The auction of the 18,000 acres of land occurred on Wednesday, 12/12/12.  Now, maybe I was too inundated by the articles about spikes in marriage certificates and the impending doom to catch this big new story.  But- a simple Google search shows that this got very little new coverage in the first place.  Well played oil & gas industry, well played. Media outlets- I would have expected more from you.  Now, we can tout the exciting revelation that California has drafted the first ever fracking regulations. So let’s examine those regulations, shall we? First, the regulations do nothing to regulate air pollution and we’ve seen severe cases of air pollution near facking sites. Next, the draft regulation calls for disclosure.  Yes, full public disclosure would be a ‘good first step’.  Residents, homeowners and parents have long been demanding the right to know, yet full public disclosure has been a bit of a political football in the past couple of years.  This seems great, right fellow Californians?  Let’s sing the praises of our new draft fracking regulations and rejoice in how progressive our state of California is.  NOPE, again.  Like I said, pour the coffee because we’ve got a lot of work to

Image from Sierraactivist.org

do. This call for disclosure is just another place for the oil and gas companies to plug in a loophole while creating a luminous (most likely toxic) smoke and mirror image.  The reality here is that, although companies need to disclose the chemicals that they are injecting into the ground, that database is not subject to public records laws.  AND, on top of that, companies can still claim “trade secrets” which would allow them to not have to disclose the names any of the chemicals, to this database that the public may or may not have access to anyway! Is this new draft regulation supposed to protect our health and safety or is it supposed to make us feel better

Image from Thad Roan – flickriver.com

about fracking in Monterey?

Either way, that’s one good dog and pony show.

So, make another pot of coffee.  We’re going to need it.