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Public comment begins for new federal oil and gas leases on Central Coast

The Trump administration says it’s considering new leases on federal lands in California for oil and gas exploration, including fracking, on the Central Coast and the Central Valley.

The Federal Bureau of Land Management has opened a 30-day public comment period on proposed leases on federal land in several California counties including Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties.

The BLM says the leases are on more than 1.5 million acres of federal land including in the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument.

In addition to conventional oil and natural gas drilling, the BLM says it’s seeking public input on issues related to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The controversial extraction process injects fluid and chemicals into shale beds to access oil and natural gas.

Environmental groups claim fracking can contaminate groundwater supplies and increase the risk of earthquakes and they want it banned in California.

The oil and gas industry maintains there’s no evidence of environmental harm from fracking.

If the BLM moves forward with the proposed new leases, it would end a five year moratorium on federal leases for oil and gas exploration in California.

The public can submit comments via e-mail directly to the BLM at the following address:

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