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Anti-Fracking Forces Target California Governor

Anti-hydraulic fracturing (fracking) organizations targeted California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday using his public appearances in Southern California as sites for demonstration and protest.

Brown gave a luncheon speech in Santa Monica and in the late afternoon attended a Democratic fundraising event in a tony residential section of Los Angeles near the UCLA campus. The anti-fracking groups stated strategy is to "confront the governor at every turn" as he steps up his fundraising efforts for a 2014 re-election bid.

A spokesperson for Brown told NGI's Shale Daily that he had no comment and did not have any interaction with the protesters. The groups organizing the demonstrations against fracking in California include MoveOn.org Civic Action, CREDO and the Center for Biological Diversity, using the same media relations firm supporting anti-Keystone XL oil pipeline demonstrations.

Citing a June Los Angeles Times-University of Southern California public opinion poll that showed 58% of California voters favor a fracking moratorium, the anti-fracking forces released a letter Thursday from 27 former Brown campaign and/or governor's administration workers urging him to impose an immediate moratorium on fracking in the state.

The groups are critical of California's new hydraulic fracturing law (SB 4), which Brown signed, and the ongoing implementation process that allows for fracking to continue on a voluntary reporting basis by producers (see Shale Daily,Nov. 15). California is home to the Monterey Shale.

Brown's appointee as the state's conservation department director and chief implementer of SB 4, Mark Nechodom, has called the proposed rules "the strongest and most comprehensive environmental public health protection of any oil and gas producing state in the nation," adding that "at the same time these regulations are designed to ensure that the oil and gas industry in California, which is a key part of the state's economy, will remain productive and competitive."

This smacks of putting the Brown administration too close to the industry it is regulating, according to the anti-fracking forces. Some of Brown's former staffers want the moratorium until an independent scientific review of fracking can take place. Earlier in the fall, Nechodom when questioned about his boss' view on fracking said he supports the use of fracking (see Shale Daily,Oct. 11).

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