Did the Feds Open up 400,000 California Acres to Fracking in a Water Crisis? By REBEKAH KEARN

The federal and state governments illegally opened up 400,000 acres for fracking in Southern California, which already has thousands of such dangerous oil and gas wells, environmentalists claim in court.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Los Padres Forestwatch sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Secretary of the Interior and the director of California’s Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday in Federal Court.
They claim the governments violated the National Environmental Policy Act by approving fracking without proper environmental analysis.
“Long term, business-as-usual oil and gas development in Central California, which is what the federal government has approved here, facilitates the expansion of high-impact unconventional extraction techniques, like fracking, in a region already overburdened by oil and gas activities, polluted air, extreme water scarcity and landscape degradation,” plaintiffs’ attorney Tamara Zakim told Courthouse News in an email.
“The federal government has ignored these realities and turned its back on California’s environmental health in approving this plan. The law requires better.”
Fracking involves high-pressure injection of water and chemicals into shale rock to fracture the formations and extract oil and gas. Environmentalists say it can pollute groundwater and even cause earthquakes. Homeowners in some areas near fracking operations have sued oil companies, claiming the process made their tap water flammable.
The Monterey Shale Formation, estimated to contain 13.7 billion to 15 billion barrels of shale oil, underlies parts of the land affected by the plan. The land at issue, in eight counties, is administered by the BLM’s Bakersfield office. It “ranges in character from coastal areas near Los Padres National Forest, to dry expanses in the San Joaquin Valley, the rugged hills in the Sierra bioregion,” the complaint states.

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