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Federal Bureau Okays Oil And Gas Leasing For Fracking In California To Resume

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Kern County farmer Tom Frantz captured these images of dumping at a Vintage Production fracking site. (Tom Frantz)

Kern County farmer Tom Frantz captured these images of dumping at a Vintage Production fracking site. (Tom Frantz)

SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) says it will resume oil and gas leasing for fracking on federal land in California next year.

The decision comes after a new study conducted by the California Council for Science and Technology found that fracking— as it is now done in California— is not poisoning air or water or increasing the risks of earthquakes.

“With these pieces in place, we will be able to both contribute to meeting America’s energy needs and implement appropriate, safe, and responsible measures to protect groundwater and other critical resources,” said Jim Kenna, BLM California State Director.

The study was commissioned by the BLM, but the researchers acknowledge it was based on limited data.

According to the BLM’s website, a “scoping process” was initiated early on in their study. During that time more than 130 public comments were made, mostly expressing concerns over the potential for groundwater pollution and the amount of water used for oil and gas production. Other concerns included air quality, health and safety, seismicity and climate change.

The BLM said they would incorporate those comments in to the development of alternatives for the Environmental Impact Statement.

The agency stopped granting new oil and gas leases in California last year, after a federal judge ruled that it had failed to follow the law in approving fracking on public land in Monterey County.

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