SANTA MARIA, Calif.-
The Bureau of Land Management has approved oil drilling and fracking on one-million acres of land across California.
The Trump Administration has taken final steps to re-open federal land to new oil drilling and fracking in California after a six-year moratorium. The Bureau of Land Management approved oil extraction to resume on one-million acres across the South, Central and Northern California.
This has been a long and steady battle between the federal government and environmental organizations in California against the drilling and fracking of parcels of land throughout Santa Barbara County and SLO Counties.
The opponents to the BLM's findings say that this could hurt water supplies, communities, and natural environments, while supporters say it's an economic need.
Their approval comes after they initiated a court-ordered environmental impact analysis.
In their findings, they claim there are no adverse environmental impacts of fracturing or drilling.
But environmentalist says otherwise.
“Several of these parcels are within half a mile of Lake Cachuma which serves as a water supply for 250,000 people,” said Rebecca August the Director of Advocacy at Los Padres Forest Watch.
The BLM says the approval will bring in $200 million in economic benefit annually and 3,500 jobs to the Bakersfield Field Office planning areas. The Bakersfield Field Office planning areas includes San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties.
“Fracking is known to use many different chemicals, many of which are know to cause cancer,” said August.
Bob Poole the Director of Western State Petroleum Association (of WSPA) released a statement saying:
“This is a good thing, it gives California an opportunity to produce more of its own oil.
Currently, California uses 2 million barrels a day. Of those two million, we import over a million every day. This gives us the most opportunities available for us to produce our own energy under the most stringent environmental regulations.”
Other supports of BLM's decision say that CA doesn’t do fracking so it's a non-issue due to the lack of need for it. But environmental groups aren’t buying it.
“It's going to cause tremendous impacts to wildlife and the air and the climate,” said August.
The BLM stated that any requests for permits to drill will undergo analysis of potential environmental impacts per specific project.
BLM also stated that they collect a 12.5% royalty on every barrel of oil and gas produced on federal mineral lands, which ranges between $65-90 million per year.