Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county
Sierra Club and CBD Submit Comments to Bureau of Land Management's Request for Public Review of Oil and Gas Leasing and Development on Federal Lands
On April 6, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Sierra Club submitted nearly 100 pages of comments on the Draft Resource Management Plan Amendment/Draft Environmental Impact Statement ("RMP"/"DEIS") for the Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") Central Coast Field Office in Hollister. The Planning Area consists of about 6.8 million acres of public land which includes about 793,000 acres of Federal mineral estate in Fresno, Kings, Monterey and San Benito counties managed by the Central Coast Field Office. Of these 793,000 acres of Federal mineral estate, 368,800 acres are deemed to be "high oil and gas occurrence potential areas."
Our comments point out that oil and gas exploration involves highly controversial and severely harmful extraction methods, including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"). Extraction and burning of fossil fuels worsens the climate crisis; endangers water, air, wildlife, public health, and local communities; and further undermines the protection of our public lands. Because new fossil fuel leasing within the Planning Area will contribute to worsening the climate crisis, we believe that the vast majority of all proven fossil fuels must be kept in the ground.
Furthermore, opening up new areas to oil and gas exploration and unlocking new sources of greenhouse gas pollution would only fuel greater warming and contravenes the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act of 1976 that mandates that BLM manage the public lands "without permanent impairment of the productivity of the land and the quality of the environment."