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Santa Barbara residents show up to rally against Trump’s drilling and fracking expansion

Santa Barbara community members gathered at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Gardens Thursday afternoon to rally against the Trump administration’s plan to expand drilling and fracking up and down the coast.

Local elected leaders, environmental groups, and community members gathered to protest against oil drilling and fracking.

“We are concerned this process is being moved along without truly alerting the public,” said Hallie Greene, director of strategic planning at Cate School.

The process is a federal plan to expand drilling and fracking across more than one and a half million acres of public land in eight central California counties, including Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties.

“Today my focus is on the lack of timely notice about the BLM’s fracking proposal management plan,” said Santa Barbara County Supervisor Joan Hartmann. “We only learned about it on Friday and comments were due at the close of business on Monday.”

The federal agency in charge of oil drilling got more than 8,000 responses during a 30-day comment period. A draft Environmental Impact Statement will go public early next year.

“We had to actually request a mapping data so the public could get a better idea of what area’s where slated to be open for drilling and fracking,” said Jeff Kuyper, executive director with Los Padres ForestWatch.

The map shows target areas including all of the Vandenberg Air Force Base, Lake Cachuma, lands near Los Padres National Forest, and by many schools.

“When you think about it drilling and fracking is completely incompatible with the campus community, both from a public health safety standpoint as well as an environmental standpoint,” said Kuyper.

At one point of the rally, a single protestor made his sign visibly clear that he was in support of the drilling and fracking plans. But, he did not want to speak on camera.

“We are going to be fighting this proposal tooth and nail until the very end,” said Kuyper.

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