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Federal Report Energizes California Anti-Fracking Movement

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(Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)

(Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images)

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SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — Opponents of fracking are seizing on a new federal report that states fracking for oil in the California may not be as productive as initially forecast and on Thursday renewed their push to declare a moratorium on the controversial process of drilling for oil.

The federal government had estimated there are almost 14 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the vast Monterey Shale formation—a true mother lode, most of which sits under Central Valley farmland. But now the Energy Information Administration says only about 4 percent of that amount can be extracted using the current hydraulic fracturing technology.

Federal Report Energizes California Anti-Fracking Movement

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Kassie Siegel, director foor the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute in Joshua Tree, told KCBS that the new estimate has turned out to be fuel for the anti-fracking movement.

“Oil companies have always been offering California a deal with the devil. They want us to trade our air, water, health and climate for some supposed treasure trove of oil and jobs,” she said.

“But this shows that the easy money in jobs promised by the oil industry was always smoke and mirrors.”

Severin Borinstein, who directs the University of California Berkeley’s Energy Institute, said, however the oil industry isn’t about to surrender.

“First of all, we have to be clear—there’s huge uncertainty about these estimates; these are guesses. Secondly, it’s about the current technology. Technology is getting better,” he said.

The anti-fracking coalition has written the state Legislature urging it to enact a moratorium. Gov. Brown, in the meantime, is allowing fracking to continue, while the state studies its environmental impact.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside.

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