January 15, 2014
Demo against fracking Dec 2013

Rally outside the Public Utilities Commission headquarters

At the December 19th state Public Utilities Commission hearing, SF Bay Area PSR joined the Sierra Club and a caravan of residents from Southern California to voice concerns about proposals to replace the energy generated from the San Onofre Nuclear Plant, through the use of natural gas permits, that would facilitate hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” operations. SF Bay Area PSR has historically expressed opposition to nuclear power generation here in California, and we cheered the announcement that the San Onofre facility was to be permanently shut down. However, replacing nuclear power with polluting fossil fuel plants is not the answer. Natural gas plants are expensive big polluters that will disrupt California’s commitment to mitigate climate change and reduce emissions, and will add to the poor air quality from which Southern California already suffers, the dirtiest air in the nation. Over one million residents in Los Angeles County alone already have asthma and other respiratory diseases. As health professionals concerned about the manifold health issues associated with global warming, we strongly oppose energy “solutions” that will worsen the health of our families and our communities.

The issue of fracking, in which sand, water and chemicals are injected into the ground to release oil and gas, was one of the most contentious battles in the Legislature last year. Governor Brown signed a bill (SB4) last September by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), which regulates the practice of fracking. SF Bay Area PSR has joined many other organizations in Californians Against Fracking who are challenging the bill as too weak, and calling for a moratorium on fracking while more studies on its effects on groundwater contamination, seismic activity, and public health proceed. Our message to the Public Utilities Commission and to Governor Brown is to instead promote clean, renewable energy as the alternative to nuclear power and fracking — an alternative that we believe is good for our climate and public health. California cannot continue to be a leader in the clean energy movement by replacing nuclear power generation with expensive, polluting, gas-powered plants.