By Tommy Hough
Register now for Thursday's Environmental Report with our guests from Los Padres Forest Watch via this Zoom link.
When Donald Trump won the presidency on an electoral college misfire after losing the popular vote in 2016, his administration rolled into office with a breathtaking lack of self-consciousness, and immediately set about behaving as though it had won a mandate in a landslide win by dismantling not only the Obama legacy, but the nation's environmental legacy too.
Despite California having a reputation for being a "bastion" against the Trump administration's destructive agenda, Trump has a clear pathway into California via our federal public lands, which are imperiled today like no other time in our state's history.
Fracking and Logging on Federal Public Lands on the Central Coast
Thursday, Sept. 10, 6:30 p.m.
Click here for the Zoom meeting link
Oil exploration notoriously expanded in the state under Gov. Jerry Brown, even as he led the fight against climate change, but fracking has increased under the watch of Gov. Gavin Newsom since his administration signed new regulations on the practice into law, and despite calls from environmental advocates in San Diego and around the state to ban fracking and phase out fossil fuels altogether. One would think this wouldn't be the heavy lift it is for our Democratic supermajority in Sacramento.
While Newsom enforced a brief pause in issuing new fracking permits late last year, permitting resumed this summer, and the governor's willingness to increase the number of fracking leases may have emboldened the Trump administration to move forward with a terrible plan to open federal public lands in the Central Valley and Central Coast to more oil and gas drilling, including fracking, with 37 new wells announced by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2019. This was followed by administration's unprecedented move this spring to open Carrizo Plain National Monument to oil and gas exploration – thereby undoing the very purpose of establishing the monument in 2001. I previously wrote about this desecration of Carrizo Plain in June.
Similarly, the Trump administration has called on western states to log more acres of National Forests under the discredited guise of fire suppression, including the current proposal to log the mature forest along Pine Mountain ridge near Mount Pinos in the San Emigdio Mountains west of the Grapevine in the Los Padres National Forest. Federal officials have similarly threatened logging at Giant Sequoia National Monument across the San Joauquin Valley in the Sierra Nevada, in a move amazingly supported by the monument's own hometown Tulare County Board of Supervisors.
While we may have beaten the Trump administration on the Cadiz water project and the attempt to subvert Mojave Trails National Monument, there are dozens of other fronts in the state where Trump's anti-environmental agenda is quickly advancing, and will only become worse should the president be re-elected in November.
We'll discuss the Trump administration's specific anti-environmental intrusions into California's federal public lands at Carrizo Plain and Pine Mountain in the form of fracking, oil exploration, and logging at our next Environmental Report on Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 6:30 p.m., featuring our special guests from Los Padres ForestWatch, including executive director Jeff Kuyper and conservation director Bryant Baker.
Access the Zoom link for the meeting here, and at our Facebook event page.
Photos by Tommy Hough
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