Over the last year we’ve been building up pressure on Governor Brown across the state of California. This last Saturday, we stood with communities that live at ground zero for fracking in Kern County, to deliver over 50,000 petition signatures to get the Governor to come see fracking first hand.
For the last 6 months, 350.org has been working closely with our partners at the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment to get the stories of community members who are directly impacted by fracking directly to the Governor and the rest of California. Despite having these stories covered by the media and blasted online, the Governor has yet to respond to the communities in Kern County.
About a month ago, we took a trip down to Kern County and documented the devastating impacts of fracking and climate change in the Central Valley of California. We knew that despite understanding the impacts of fracking many Californians and folks across the country haven’t seen exactly what it looks like to go to school with wells next to your playground or to hear from parents who are concerned about how their kid’s asthma. We wanted to make sure that not just the Governor understood what is actually happening in his own state, but the rest of the country understood what hangs in the balance when we pass weak regulation.
If you’ve missed it, check out the video we made here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XH1W9HXne7
What we saw was heartbreaking. We saw bright green fluid next to wells in unlined pits, we saw flares less than a few blocks from elementary schools, and we saw fracking wells popped up in the middle of potato fields and almond farms. What was clear to us then was that if the Governor saw this himself, he’d know better than to rely on weak regulation that isn’t enforced to protect the communities of Kern. The community members we met with there made it clear: Come to Kern county and face fracking head on.
This past Saturday we stood in the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment’s community garden with 50,000 petitions from Californians asking the Governor to join us in Kern. This garden sits between Sequoia Elementary school and about 7 fracking wells and less than a quarter of a mile down the road from an open flare.
We spoke to the press about the implications of human health of fracking. Community members Rodrigo Romo and Anabel Marquez requested again that the Governor come down to Kern and take a tour of the air their family breathes and the water their family drinks. Despite regulations that have kicked in this year, there still has been no comprehensive study on what the impacts on human health are from fracking.
On top of all of this, the Governor spends much of his time bragging about his climate legacy. We know that the climate can’t take one more barrel of oil extracted and burned, but the Governor has decided to pretend that fracking for oil is safe for a clean energy future. Driving down the I-5, past dry rivers, signs to pray for rain, and unseeded farms, we know California’s climate is in danger and any more extraction will only make the problem worse.
If the Governor wants to continue to keep his head in the sand about fracking, we wanted to make it clear that community’s across California will not keep quiet about the devastating impacts of fracking. As our friend, Juan Flores a community organizer from CRPE said this weekend “We are not fighting because we don’t like the oil industry, we’re fighting because we love ourselves”.
Join us in keeping up the pressure and share the video from Kern County and make sure to tweet the video to Governor Jerry Brown so he has no excuse but to face fracking and end the extreme practice in California.
Check out some of the coverage of our press conference below: