By Kimberly Rivers
At the urging of CredoAction.com over 3500 voters have asked their state assembly members to vote no on the only live fracking bill.
The bill is said to be slated for a vote today - all bills pass or die by midnight on Thursday - and environmental groups are keeping an eye out for further amendments.
“This is a case where something terrible is really worse that nothing,” said Zack Malitz, Campaign Manager with CredoAction. Even with the current lack of fracking regulation, the campaign is taking the stance that SB 4 has been weakened by recent amendments. Credo supports an out right ban on fracking and feels the language in last week's amendments makes the bill even worse. They have opposed this bill from its inception, but now Malitz says the bill is “dangerously weak.”
He points to two parts in the amended bill:
1 - The Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) “shall allow” all fracking until 2015, when a scientific study would be done. Malitz says that language takes away Gov. Jerry Brown’s authority to ban fracking. And it could also be used by DOGGR
2 – Another section involves the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Malitz says the amendment effectively grants DOGGR the authority to determine when CEQA applies, and that is too vague. Environmental groups say DOGGR has been asleep at the wheel when it comes to fracking, and Credo says this vague language will just allow DOGGR to let the industry avoid the environmental reviews that CEQA requires. (The industry disputes that CEQA applies now, they say that well stimulation practices like fracking are currently exempt – READ yesterdays story, click here)
But would Brow really ban fracking?
“Yes. Governor Brown is a long time environmental champion,” said Malitz. He believes that if enough Californian’s want him to ban fracking, and point to the facts that Brown would choose to ban fracking. “It is incompatible with climate change policy.”
Pavley's office did not respond to requests for comment.
Below is Credo's fact sheet on the amendments.