Judge Denies Request to Open More California Lands to Fracking

A request by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to open roughly 1,500 square miles of land in California to use for fracking has been denied by a federal judge for lack of enough environmental studies on the effects fracking would have in the area.

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald wrote in his ruling that the BLM needs more thorough studies on the effects the estimated 25 percent increase of wells devoted to fracking would have in the area. He gave the agency until September 21 to provide reason why he should not issue an injunction to stop the plan.

Fitzgerald’s ruling also notes that over one-third of the federally listed threatened and endangered species live in the planned area. The land also hosts many groundwater systems that are used for water supply for agriculture and residents.

Groups opposed to the plan say are pleased with the ruling. “This is a huge victory in the fight to protect our water and wildlife from fracking pollution and dangerous drilling,” said Brendan Cummings, Director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

President of the oil-industry group Western States Petroleum Association Catherine Reheis-Boyd said in response to the ruling that fracking methods have been thoroughly analyzed and reviewed, meeting the strictest environmental standards that are throughout the nation.