By David R. Baker : sfchronicle – excerpt
A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the U.S. Bureau of Land Management from opening more than 1 million acres in Central California to oil drilling because the agency did not properly explore the potential dangers of fracking.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael Fitzgerald sided with environmentalists who argued that the bureau should have addressed the possible impacts of hydraulic fracturing in an environmental impact statement issued as part of the formal process of opening public lands to drilling.
Instead, the 1,073-page impact statement only mentioned fracking three times and never discussed the controversial practice in depth, according to the judge…
Environmentalists who consider fracking a threat to California’s strained groundwater supplies hailed the ruling.
“The Obama administration must get the message and end this reckless rush to auction off our public land to oil companies,” said Brendan Cummings, conservation director for the Center for Biological Diversity, one of two environmental groups that sued the bureau. “As California struggles against drought and climate change, we’ve got to end fracking and leave this dirty oil in the ground.”… (more)
Not to mention the earthquake potential in an earthquake zone. They are worrying about it in Oklahoma now. We should consider it a potential threat in California.
by :capitolweekly – excerpt
The California Environmental Quality Act has long been the punching bag of business interests and some policy makers. It has been blamed for everything from a dearth of affordable housing to a sluggish economy during financial downturns.
Yet, until now, precious little objective research has been conducted to understand the costs and benefits associated with this 46-year-old law…
Recently, the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment commissioned BAE Urban Economics to draft an objective report to dig into this sticky question.
Leveraging a combination of rigorous quantitative analysis, a literature review of past research, case studies and a review of recent legislative changes to the law, the report found little evidence of economic harm inflicted by this landmark environmental law.
In fact, the report found that CEQA has done a good job of helping California to grow in an environmentally sustainable way. The state is relying more on increased density to accommodate a growing population and less on agricultural land and open space to accommodate new housing than it has in decades past.
California is now the 11th most densely populated state in the nation, up from its ranking of 13th in 1970. Nearly one-quarter of the most walkable cities in the US are now located in California.
It’s difficult to justify claims that this law impedes environmentally-sensitive development with these facts at hand… (more)