Environmental activists assembled by San Diego 350 gathered in Ocean Beach on Saturday morning to distribute petitions and create a mural the group hopes to send to Governor Jerry Brown in an attempt to lobby for an executive order banning the practice of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as "fracking," within the state of California.
In the fracking process, highly pressurized water, mixed with sand and an undisclosed blend of acidic chemicals (oil industry representatives say the exact contents of fracking fluids are a trade secret), is blasted down a well site, breaking up rock formations beneath the surface and releasing the oil and/or natural gas contained within.
In July, the California Council on Science and Technology released a study on the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing within the state, finding that while oil companies seem to be using techniques that cause less damage here than in other states, concerns remain that warrant further study and stronger monitoring standards.
Nicole Peill-Moelter of San Diego 350 says today's action, one of several planned across the state, is intended to draw attention to the results of that study.
"The study concerned various risks of fracking including earthquakes, irrigation of crops with fracking wastewater and other unknown
chemicals, and contamination of air and water supplies," said Peill-Moelter, standing in front of a "Stop Fracking CA" banner as adults and children took turns painting portions of the display.
"It's simple — we're asking Governor Brown to ban fracking in California. We feel that in comparing benefits and risks, the risks are much higher to Californians."
She says that about 3000 signatures have been gathered locally as part of an ongoing public awareness campaign, and insists that existing and emerging green technologies offer a viable alternative to increasingly complex and energy-intensive means of extracting fossil fuels.
"We believe in solutions – replacement options for oil from fracking include renewable energy, electric vehicles, increased energy efficiency, better fuel efficiency in gas-burning cars, and expanded use of biofuels."