Energy & Environment

California sues Trump administration over fracking

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California is suing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over its plan to open up public lands in the state to oil and gas drilling including fracking, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) announced Friday.

“BLM’s decision to advance this half-baked proposal isn’t just misguided, it’s downright dangerous. The risks to both people and the environment associated with fracking are simply too high to ignore,” Becerra said in a statement.

“We won’t ignore the facts and science when it comes to protecting our people, economy, and environment — and we’re taking the Trump Administration to court to prove it,” he added.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in federal court in California, claims that the administration’s environmental impacts statement ignores possible effects on people living near oil and gas wells.

“BLM’s analysis of impacts from increased air pollution and groundwater contamination on disadvantaged communities living near federal oil and gas operations was particularly deficient,” it said. 

A bureau spokesperson told The Hill in a statement that it was reviewing the lawsuit. 

“The BLM’s supplemental analysis on hydraulic fracturing incorporated the best available information,” the spokesperson said, adding that the analysis “did not make any new public lands or Federal minerals available to oil and gas development.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) criticized his home state over the lawsuit. 

“The state’s decision to once again sue the Trump Administration – this time by refusing to accept the BLM’s science-based analysis – is another political stunt that will adversely impact the people who call California home,” McCarthy said in a statement. “The oil and gas industry annually contribute over 350,000 jobs to California’s economy.”

In December, the administration approved new oil and gas leases across more than 1 million acres of land in California, ending a five-year moratorium. 

BLM has defended opening up lands to fracking, saying that it will create jobs and generate tax revenue.

Updated at 9:25 p.m.

Tags California Kevin McCarthy Xavier Becerra
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