Statewide anti-fracking tour stops in Chico

Jan 28, 2015 12:50 AM by Meteorologist Jason Atcho

Tuesday night marked the last stop of the California Crossroads Tour, which started in San Diego two weeks ago and ended in Chico. The group has been making it's way across the state educating people on the dangers of fracking.

David Braun of Californians Against Fracking got involved 6 years ago as an ordinary citizen when he lived in New York. When he learned about fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, a process of extracting gas deep underground, he and others got together to oppose the drilling. "We fought it on the basis of health impacts in New York state, organized a lot of communities, brought in a lot of sustainable business, and we just won a ban on fracking in New York state which is really good. It's a testament to people power and to the science."

The Department of Environmental Health in the state of New York conducted their own studies of fracking and determined it was dangerous to the public. "What they concluded is that it was actually harmful to human health. In fact the commissioner of the department of health said he wouldn't let his 2 year old child live next to a fracking well," explained Braun.

Organizers want the state of California to learn from New York and look deeper into the process of fracking. "So if we're seeing other departments of health in other states ban it on the basis of health impacts, we should certainly at the very least be having our department of health looking into this issue," said Braun.

Those who support fracking say the citizens in Butte County are overreacting since fracking isn't even occurring here and the statewide ban would many affect others across the state. "The message that it sends for a county like Butte that doesn't even have oil development to symbolically ban something that affects almost half a million Californians and their jobs," said Dave Quast of the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

Local leaders say water is a precious resource, especially while it looks like a 4th consecutive year of drought for the state. We shouldn't be wasting it to drill for gas. "We really need to be concerned about our water because we're going to be having some huge water problems this year and into the future and fracking is playing a major role in how water is going to be used," said Dave Garcia of Frack-Free Butte County.

Braun says the state is at a crossroad right now and the governor needs to lead us in the right direction. "We know that this is bad. We can't let the worst climate polluters keep doing business as usual. We need to really catapult ourselves into the future. One hundred percent renewable energy. Sustainable businesses and Jerry Brown is the guy that can lead us there by starting with a ban on fracking."

This tour is building up to the March for Real Climate Leadership, a rally that's expected to draw 10,000 people to the streets of Oakland on February 7th. This gathering would make it the largest mobilization of its kind in state history.


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