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Groups oppose California fracking

Dec. 8, 2011 at 8:42 PM   |   Comments

SACRAMENTO, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit meant to block oil and gas development leases on environmentally sensitive land in two California counties.

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club filed the lawsuit Thursday, challenging the federal Bureau of Land Management's leasing of more than 2,500 acres in Monterey and Fresno counties for oil and gas development that would include "fracking," a CBD release said.

"Fracking," a process in which water mixed with chemicals is pumped into the ground to fracture rock and release gas and oil, would go ahead without proper environmental review of the effects this would have on California's landscapes, wildlife, watersheds and air quality, the suit said.

"Opening up these sensitive areas to fracking without even disclosing the risks is flat-out irresponsible," the Center's Kassie Siegel, said. "Our public lands shouldn't be sacrificed for more dirty fossil fuel development just when we need to shift as quickly as possible to a clean-energy future."

The BLM offered 2,703 acres of land in Monterey and Fresno counties for lease, of which 2,583 were leased for a total of $257,051, the CBD and the Sierra Club said.

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