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BLM gets sued by CA state and environmental organizations

Oil Drilling Sweetwater Texas oil derrick
CNN

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The state of California is suing to block the Trump Administration's plan to allow more oil and gas drilling, including areas on the Central Coast. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra says new permits from the federal government would allow fracking too.

This lawsuit comes just days after several environmental organizations including the Los Padres Forest Watch and Sierra Club sued the Bureau of Land Management.

The federal government's plan is to expand fracking to 1.2 million acres of land across the state including San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

“We are suing the Trump Administration once again for acting as if they are above the law,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

Attorney General Xavier Bercerra, the governor's office, and several state agencies say the BLM's environmental impact study violates the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

They're trying to stop the federal government's plan to allow more drilling on more than one million acres of public land including areas in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties.

Critics say the plan would also allow fracking.

“It's a plan that ignores a growing body of evidence that points to fracking as a significant cause of water and air pollution and earthquakes,” said Becerra.

The Los Padres Forest Watch is one of the many environmental agencies suing the BLM with similar claims.

“Fracking and the kind of oil extraction that we do now in California causes tremendous impacts to air and to water and that is documented,” said the Los Padres Forest Watch representative Rebecca August.

But supporters of domestic oil and energy extraction don’t agree. Citing a study conducted by California's past Governor Jerry Brown.

“His administration did an extensive study and found hydraulic fracking does not pose any health risk to the citizens of California,” said Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association's Joe Armendariz.

The BLM argues their study found the same, and say fracking won't pose any health threats to the environment or people.

“We are heartened by the fact that the state of CA is concerned as we are about the impacts that fracking will have on our communities, environment and public health,” said August.

The BLM also reports it's unlikely any fracking would take place in SB County due to geological formations.

Back in October Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law banning any California leasing authority from allowing gas infrastructure to be built on state property.

The goal is to make it difficult for new drilling to occur because federally protected areas are adjacent to a lot of state-owned land.

Santa Barbara- S County

Naja Hill

Naja Hill is a reporter at KCOY|KEYT|KKFX.