By Katherine Paul (Contact)
To be delivered to: Bob Abbey, Director, U.S. Interior Bureau of Land Managment, James G. Kenna, Calif. State Director, Bureau of Land Management, and David Christy, Central Calif. Public Affairs Officer, Bureau of Land Management
You may not live in California, but chances are a lot of the food you buy, including organic produce, is grown there. California is the largest producer of food in the U.S. In 2011, the state's 81,500 farms and ranches had sales of $43.5 billion. What happens to our food if we frack and poison the groundwater that irrigates California’s farms?
In a move that a federal judge says violated environmental law, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has already auctioned off 1,750 square miles of California’s public lands to oil companies intent on extracting oil, using a controversial technology called hydraulic fracturing – or fracking. In May, the BLM plans to auction off even more of California’s Monterey Shale, a geological formation that extends from northern California to Los Angeles, and is home to cattle ranches, dairy farms, vineyards and organic farms.
Fracking and farms cannot co-exist, as we’ve heard over and over from farmers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Dakota, West Virginia and Colorado. Farmers whose lives and farms have been ruined by fracking’s methane emissions and toxic chemicals. As one farmer explained, “We depend on good water for our cows, our crops and our own health. Once you mess up your groundwater, you can’t fix it.”
The oil and gas industry argues that it’s fine to pump huge amounts of cancer-causing chemicals deep into the earth, because we’ll never use that water. U.S. environmental regulators agree – which is why fracking is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, and why the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued more than 1,500 permits for companies to pollute aquifers in some of the country’s driest regions. But as our population grows, and temperatures rise, we may find ourselves doing what Mexico City has already been forced to do: drawing water from mile-deep aquifers that until now would not have been tapped for drinking water.
We all depend on California for our food. California’s unique Mediterranean climate allows the state to grow over 450 different crops. Some of these crops are exclusive to California: almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pomegranates, pistachios, prunes, raisins, clovers, and walnuts.
Fracking is bad for our water, bad for our air, bad for our health, bad for the climate. Without clean air and clean water, there are no farms. Without farms, there is no food.
Please sign this petition to the Bureau of Land Management asking officials there to stop auctioning off California’s public lands for fracking.
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