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Lawsuit filed against plan to open 1.2 million acres of CA land to fracking, drilling

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KEYT

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A lawsuit was filed Tuesday challenging the Trump Administration's plan to open up more than 1.2 million acres of land in California to drilling and fracking. The plan includes land in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties.

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles by several conservation groups and said the Bureau of Land Management violated federal law by not considering the potential impacts of fracking on public health and recreation.

In December, the Trump Administration signed off on the Bureau of Land Management's plan, which ended a five-year moratorium on new oil drilling in eight counties across California: Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, eastern Fresno, western Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare.

Fracking, which is short for "hydraulic fracturing," has been criticized for being harmful to the environment. Opponents have voiced concerns about water contamination and the potential for fracking to cause earthquakes. However, when the BLM released its decision in December, it said its analysis "shows that there are no adverse environmental impacts due to hydraulic fracturing that cannot be alleviated."

Los Padres ForestWatch, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the Los Padres National Forest, released an interactive map of the land that could be open to fracking and drilling.

Some notable spots locally include more than 300 acres in the Santa Ynez Mountains, 20 acres along Highway 154 near Lake Cachuma, nearly all of Vandenberg Air Force Base, more than 3,100 acres in Lompoc city limits, 980 acres at the Cayucos and Whale Rock Reservoir, more than 1,200 acres in Montana de Oro State Park and Irish Hills, and more than 12,000 acres in the Carrizo Plains Ecological Reserve. The organization says the BLM plan also identified Morro rock as an area open to drilling and fracking.

Tuesday's lawsuit cited concerns about climate change, as well as groundwater and air pollution.

Environment / San Luis Obispo County / Santa Barbara- S County / Santa Maria - North County / Ventura County

Lindsay Zuchelli

Lindsay Zuchelli is the executive producer at KEYT|KCOY|KKFX.