Thousands of environmentalists took to California’s state capitol on Saturday to demand Governor Jerry Brown ban hydraulic fracturing, in what is being called the largest anti-fracking mobilization the state has ever seen.
Fracking is a method of extracting fossil fuels that is coveted for its ability to increase the flow of oil or gas from a well. This is done by injecting high-pressure water and chemicals miles deep into the ground into subsurface rock, effectively “fracturing” the rock and allowing more spaces for oil and gas to come through.
The process relies heavily on groundwater by injecting a mixture of chemicals and water into rock formations to release oil and gas deposits. California’s recent drought emergency has prompted some lawmakers to push for a statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, as a recent Ceres report found that 96 percent of California fracking wells are located in the areas experiencing drought and high water stress.
The protest, called Don’t Frack California, also attempts to point out that the oil and gas produced from fracking ultimately contributes to climate change, which leading climate scientists have said is the reason why California’s drought has been so bad in the first place.
California Governor Jerry Brown has been catching flak from environmentalists for his support of fracking, despite his claims that he is dedicated to fighting climate change. Brown, a Demoract, has supported policies including that state’s cap-and-trade law, as well as advocating high-speed rail and renewable energy investments. But last year he also supported SB4, a state bill that went into effect at the start of 2014, and which drew the anger of environmentalists for failing to place a moratorium on fracking.
“Governor Brown likes to think of himself as climate champion,” Jamie Henn, co-founder of 350.org, wrote in the Huffington Post. “But just like President Obama, Brown has refused to stand up to Big Oil.”
So now, Californians are taking the issue into their own hands.
People traveled from all over the state to attend the rally at the State Capitol in Sacramento. Some took the five and a half hour drive from Los Angelos.
— EARTHWORKS (@Earthworks) March 15, 2014
Others took the short trip from Oakland.
— Shoshanna Howard (@Sho_How) March 15, 2014
Some came all the way from San Diego, more than 500 miles away.
— Peg Mitchell (@PegMitchell1) March 15, 2014
The crowd was growing at around 12:30 PST, a half hour before the rally was scheduled to begin.
— Rae Breaux (@hoorae) March 15, 2014
And, of course, there were signs.
— Walker Foley (@WalkerFoley) March 15, 2014
— FRΛCTIVIST (@fractivist) March 15, 2014
— Alexandra Nagy (@RealFoodNagy) March 15, 2014
— David Turnbull (@david_turnbull) March 15, 2014
— Zack Malitz (@ZackMalitz) March 15, 2014
The number of attendees remains to be seen, but Don’t Frack California’s Twitter feed noted on Friday that its website had received more than 5,000 RSVPs.