HOLD (Halt Oil Lease Drilling) has been sending me emails for a while, and today, I decided I finally needed to share with interested readers some of what is going on directly behind the Santa Lucia Mtns. from us.
I have seen a number of specials and reports on this concept of “fracking” technology, and it is very controversial, potentially deadly to humans, animals, and the environment, and has been temporarily halted in the state of New York. If you are not familiar with it, google it and read up. It is frightening. Yet, that is what one company is proposing to do on lands leased from the BLM here in Monterey County.
If you’ve never heard of fracking, here is a very recent informative article, with an environmental slant, that also includes a video demonstrating just one of the concerns of this process:
Filmmaker Josh Fox has released the highly acclaimed film Gasland about the fracking process. Fox was approached about leasing his land for drilling and set out to explore the Halliburton-developed technology and its environmental and social impacts. The film won a Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film festival, and will be running on HBO through 2012. You can get information about the movie, the action one can take and a wealth of information at the website: Gasland, the Movie
HOLD held a meeting in Lockwood on Saturday, Dec. 4th, and this is a portion of what the organizers of HOLD sent me:
“Approximately 30 people attended a public discussion on the issue of oil drilling in the Hames and San Antonio Valleys, where new techniques of deep horizontal drilling and fracking have made heretofore economically unfeasible resources a focus of development by a major oil company. The meeting was convened by the local citizen’s group HOLD.
Steve Craig of the Ventana Conservation and Land Trust discussed his dealings with Monterey County and Venoco, the company behind the expansion, which potentially targets over 6,000 acres in private and BLM stewardship.
His group appealed a decision on this issue and has a hearing scheduled for next week before the Monterey County Board of Supervisors (Planning Commission?). He received a call from a Venoco representative yesterday stating the company will ask the county to go ahead with the EIR (at the company’s expense), rather than accept the county staff’s recommendation that a consultant be hired to assess whether an EIR is necessary. [What may actually be on the agenda is whether or not to waive the appeal fee for Craig’s group, with the EIR concerns delayed for further reports and/or action.]
The local Monterey shale is basically the same as that on the East Coast where these practices have been used for long enough to have a cursory idea of their environmental impacts.
No one knows about long term effects, such as in our case, being only 8 miles from the Pacific Ocean, salt water intrusion into deep layers of the earth newly disturbed by these invasive techniques of mineral extraction.
Craig pointed out that the US Forest Service did an extensive study and has totally rejected any further drilling on the public lands under their stewardship in Monterey County, and that Fort Hunter Liggett is dramatically expanding its water delivery system to accommodate planned expansion. BLM (Bureau of Land Management) will release its Environmental Impact Statement on the issue soon.
If you would like to review the Monterey County Planning Commision Staff Reports and Exhibits for the December 8, 2010 meeting, go to
Educate yourself, and then express your educated opinion about the use of “fracking” in Monterey County to anyone who will listen, but particularly for those who won’t. I don’t think it will happen, but I’d rather be knowledgeable, and follow this issue here in Monterey County or any neighboring county, ready to take action, then to suddenly learn it has been implemented while I was living in ignorance.
There are many important environmental issues that need to be addressed, but I can’t think of anything more important than the permanent and irreversible damage to our water systems. It is basic survival. Get informed, and get active.